All benzodiazepines including Ativan ideally should be prescribed for the shortest possible time in the smallest possible dose as a general rule to avoid dependence and tolerance to its therapeutic effect.
Usually Benzodiazepines should not be taken continuously for more than 8-12 weeks but we have seen patients in our clinical practice who are taking them for 10-15 years. Our advice to all such patient is to taper down and stop benzodiazepines completely.
You were taking Ativan since last 12 years so it will not be very easy to stop Ativan after taking it for such a long time and while tapering it down (detox) you may experience moderate to severe withdrawal reaction.
During the initial phase of detoxification
, yes, your withdrawal symptoms (dizziness
, nausea, tingling sensation, perspiration etc) may worsen and you have to tolerate them to get rid of Ativan.
Now there can be two method of detox.
- Your doctor try to taper down Ativan slowly by gradually decreasing its dose.
- Your doctor replace Ativan (Lorazepam) with another long acting benzodiazepine such as Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) or Clonazepam.
If you have already tried to taper down Ativan but were not able to do so you can ask your doctor to try the second method.
There are some long acting benzodiazepines which can be helpful in tapering down Ativan such as Chlordiazepoxide and Clonazepam.
Your doctor can directly switch you over to either Clonazepam or Chlordiazepoxide and then try to taper down these medicine. It is comparatively easier to taper down clonazepam or chlordiazepoxide in comparison to Ativan (Lorazepam) because of long half life of these two medicines. Since they tend to stay longer in the body therefore the withdrawal symptoms are not very severe during the tapering process.
I hope this helps, please feel free to ask any related query.