How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

How long does Ativan stay in your system? Learn more about benzodiazepine addiction in our blog. The Edge offers expert treatment for Ativan abuse.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

March 17, 2023

Ativan belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs and is the brand name for lorazepam. It is a prescription drug typically used to treat anxiety. It's also a sedative and anesthetic. Ativan can also be used to control epilepsy, as a relaxant, and even to help withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or other benzos.

Benzodiazepines are among the most widely prescribed drug classes in the U. S. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified all benzodiazepines as Schedule IV (C IV). This means the DEA considers Ativan, along with other benzos, as having a low potential for abuse and dependence. However, that's not to say Ativan can't lead to addiction.

By the Numbers:

According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.8 million persons aged 12 or older in 2020 abused prescribed benzodiazepines in the previous year. The proportion was greatest among adults aged 18 to 25, which was 1.1 million individuals, trailed by adults aged 26 and older, who constituted 3.5 million, and teenagers aged 12 to 17. 

What Is Ativan Used For?

Like other benzos, Ativan is used to treat anxiety. Interestingly, Ativan is also used in rare cases to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This condition can be triggered by severe anxiety.

When used as prescribed, Ativan can help people live normal lives. However, like other benzos, Ativan can become addictive very quickly. It's possible to get addicted to prescriptions, and many do.

Drug abuse isn't about a substance, it's about behaviors.

  • Using someone else's prescription

  • Using prescriptions recreationally

  • Deliberately taking too much of a prescription

  • Mixing prescriptions with other drugs

  • Illegally obtaining multiple prescriptions

These are all forms of drug abuse.

Prolonged benzodiazepine usage carries hazards. Long-term use of Ativan, like other benzos, poses the danger of severe negative impacts. This includes cognitive issues and the onset of Alzheimer's in the aged. If taken with other depressants that affect the brain and spinal cord (CNS), such as alcohol, other benzos, and opioid painkillers, benzodiazepines like Ativan can cause lethal benzo overdoses.

How Long Does It Take Ativan to Take Effect?

When administered orally, Ativan is slowly absorbed and has an average impact (between fifteen and thirty minutes with most individuals) when compared to other benzos. Among most people, ingestion of Ativan will achieve its maximum impact in under two hours.

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Ativan: How Long Does It Stay in Your System?

The half-life of Ativan, the period required for a person's body to digest the medication to half the initial level in circulation, is commonly reported as approximately 12 hours. However, a realistic assessment is somewhere between ten and twenty hours for most people.

In most situations, it requires about 5 to 6 half-lives for a dosage of Ativan to be removed from a person's body. Drug users with such a good resistance might consume exceptionally high doses, and the substance might take longer to remove.

According to studies, the overwhelming percentage of the medication is processed in the hepatic area and subsequently removed through the urine. The bulk of Ativan is removed following five days of administration. However, certain lorazepam compounds (toxins created due to chemical breakdown) might persist in a user's bloodstream for more than seven days.

What is the half life of Ativan? This image describes the half life of Ativan

Lab Testing for Ativan

The length of time Ativan remains in your system is also determined by the system undergoing assessment. Ativan detection methods can identify the existence of the substance at various intervals after administration. The duration required for Ativan to be untraceable in a user's body is determined by the kind of medical exam used. For example, the medicine might take 3 to 30 days to depart a person's body completely.

How long does Ativan stay in your system? This chart shows how long Ativan stays in urine, saliva, blood, and hair

Drug testing may involve the following:

  • Blood examination

  • Urine examination

  • Hair examination

  • Saliva examination

Blood Test

A blood examination can identify Ativan as soon as 6 hours after consumption. Blood examinations may determine the medication for three days after that. This interval might be extended if a patient has already been using Ativan at greater dosages for 3 days or above.

Urine Test

Ativan is detected in urine testing because it travels via the kidneys. Your system subsequently eliminates the medication using urine produced by the kidneys. This medicine can be detected in samples taken for a maximum of 6 days just after the previous dose. This timescale might be extended for persons who utilize the medication constantly at greater dosages.

One type of Ativan screening for urine requires searching for the compound lorazepam-glucuronide. Whenever the system breaks down the medication, it generates this chemical. Ativan can be detected for nine days following its final dose using this test approach. A misdiagnosis can happen from time to time. This occurs when the examination yields a positive outcome even though the examined person has never taken Ativan. This can occur if the person takes an antidepressant such as Zoloft or an anti-allergen such as oxaprozin.

Hair Test

When detecting Ativan through hair testing, examiners, like many other chemicals, submit samples taken to a research facility. Such research facilities can identify Ativan in specimens collected for considerably more time than any other chemical analytical procedure. This time can last up to thirty days after each dose.

Saliva Test

Salivary examinations are seldom used by narcotics analyzers to assess for Ativan. Yet, a drug examiner using a salivary medical exam might identify the substance for as long as 8 hours following its last usage.

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How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

Those being examined for drug consumption might or might not be checked for benzodiazepines, according to the circumstances. Several typical drug tests, especially the SAMHSA 5 Panel Test, may well not find benzodiazepines, although more comprehensive screenings, which include the SAMHSA 10 Panel Test, can. In addition, according to publicly available data, there have been predicted recognition ranges for how long Ativan will appear on a drug screening:

  • According to studies, blood tests can identify the existence of Ativan for a maximum of 3 days.

  • Lorazepam can be detected in urination for a maximum of 6 days, and several byproducts can be detected for even longer (9 days). Therefore, if Lorazepam is consistently misused, urinalysis might show the existence of the drug after one week or more.

  • A saliva swab can identify the existence of Ativan for a maximum of 8 hours after being used.

  • Hair samples may confirm the existence of Ativan up to thirty days following intake. Typically, the medication will not give positive results in a follicle/hair sample for many days after the individual has consumed it.

  • Urinalysis constitutes the most commonly employed technique to determine the existence of Lorazepam/Ativan. However, urine and plasma examinations are deemed overly intrusive throughout most situations, while hair samples are regarded as too costly.

Which Factors Influence the Time of Detection for Ativan?

Recognition periods may fluctuate depending on many factors, including:

  • Unique variances in digestion, renal function, and wellness can all impact how a medication is degraded and removed from the body. For example, those with kidney or other medical conditions may probably process and remove the medicine more slowly.

  • Older adults often have weaker absorption of nutrients and hence remove medicines more slowly than teens and young adults.

  • Heavily-weighted people appear to remove Ativan faster than lightweight people; therefore, body mass might play an essential role in certain circumstances.

  • The quantity and pace with which the medication is administered will impact the duration the substance lingers in the body. For example, people who consume the medication on a routine basis or in large doses would remove the drug more gradually than those who have never acquired substantial sensitivity.

  • The interaction of Ativan with certain other medicines can alter the medication's disposal period. Alcohol seems to be a typical case because it is digested initially in the liver. In addition, several medication mixtures, such as antidepressants or synthetic drugs, can potentially reduce the excretion rate of Lorazepam.

  • Water might have a slight impact on how soon Ativan leaves the body. Those with adequate water intake may excrete the medication more quickly than those without.

  • Certain meals may sometimes impact the speed of excretion of any medicine in the bloodstream. It is commonly believed that consuming unhealthy meals beforehand or while using medicine slows the removal of many pharmaceuticals and other chemicals from the body.

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Abuse and Addiction to Ativan

Ativan abuse can result in mental and physical addiction to benzos. Individuals with a diagnosis of alcoholism or psychological disorders seem to be more prone to develop a lorazepam dependency. Because Ativan is intoxicating, people who utilize it might develop physical reliance and side effects. Ativan addiction can be hard for somebody suffering from a chemical dependency to cease using the medication, even when there are difficulties linked with it, including:

  • Concerns for relatives and close companions

  • Failure to fulfill duties at work, college, or family

  • Putting oneself in perilous circumstances

  • A decrease in interest in previously important items to the person

  • Social exclusion from acquaintances and fellow workers

Monetary Difficulties

Individuals with a longstanding Ativan dependency experience may become accustomed to the medication. However, a greater dose is required to obtain the same results when a person consumes a pill routinely for a sufficient amount of time. Developing a sensitivity to Ativan might put a person battling with drug dependence in danger of overdose.

Detecting an Ativan Overdose

Ativan intoxication is conceivable at any dosage higher than your physician has authorized. The same advice applies to everybody using a variety of prescribed drugs. Benzodiazepine accidents could be either unintentional or deliberate. For either scenario, it is critical to understand the indications and symptoms of an Ativan overdose. These are some examples:

  • Lack of energy and weariness

  • Incoherent conduct

  • Dripping excessively

  • Dissociative episodes

  • Reduced organ performance (kidney failure)

  • Inhibition of the brain and spinal cord causes severe respiratory failure (resulting in cardiac arrest, paralysis, or death)

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Ativan Withdrawal Symptoms

Ativan can be physiologically compulsive regardless of how long it's been used. This implies that unpleasant benzo withdrawal symptoms are frequent when undergoing Ativan detoxification. When you are in the habit of consuming Ativan on a consistent schedule for any length of time and then abruptly discontinue it, you might be experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Migraine

  • Perspiring

  • Arm shivers and muscle cramps

  • Anxiety levels have risen.

  • Accelerated systolic pressure

  • Sleeping problems

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Nervousness

  • Hallucinations

  • Complications of epilepsy

Detoxing from benzos should ALWAYS be done at a drug detox center. Withdrawal from benzos can be very complex.

Treatment for Ativan Addiction

Addiction is a medical condition. Therapy with Ativan or other medications is generally accessible. Recognizing how emotional, physical, and mental problems may constitute the motivating factor behind addiction is a critical component of treating addiction. Rehabilitation clinics employ a variety of therapeutic methods, including:

Depending on your addiction intensity, the treatment mentioned above programs can be recommended in inpatient drug rehab, outpatient drug rehab, or another level of care.

Struggling With Ativan Addiction? Reach Out to The Edge Treatment Center

Ativan can stay in your system long enough for addiction to develop. Benzo addiction is a common form of drug addiction. It can be very difficult to treat, especially if you decide to go it alone.

You don't have to. The Edge Treatment Center provides expert care for Ativan abuse and addiction. We'll help you find a drug detox center to safely detox from Ativan. When you arrive at The Edge Treatment Center, our comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program will give you every resource you need to create a life without Ativan addiction.

If you want to learn more about Ativan abuse and our benzodiazepine addiction program, contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.