What Factors Affect Lorazepam Dosage?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The factors that affect lorazepam dosage include age, condition, and patient response. The presence of other medical conditions or use of additional medications may influence dosage, too. These factors are more guidelines than hard rules. Many conditions are effectively treated by 0.5 to 10 mg of the drug on a daily or as-needed basis. Lorazepam can be taken orally, or delivered intramuscularly or intravenously for quicker action.

Insomnia is typically treated with two to four milligrams of Lorazepam at bedtime.
Insomnia is typically treated with two to four milligrams of Lorazepam at bedtime.

Age is one factor that might influence lorazepam dosage. The medication is not indicated for children less than 12 years of age. Children 12 and older may take it for anxiety, seizures, or for other reasons. Pediatric doses may be smaller, though this isn’t always the case.

Intravenous injection dosages to treat sudden seizures may not differ between adults and children. People 65 and above might also take less lorazepam than younger adults. There is some suggestion that advanced age increases vulnerability to side effects, indicating the need for a lower dose.

An important consideration regarding lorazepam dosage is the condition for which it is being used. To treat anxiety, people may take from one to four milligrams per day, usually in two daily doses. Insomnia is regularly treated with two to four milligrams at bedtime.

Sudden seizures call for intravenous injections of four milligrams. An additional four milligrams can follow in 15 minutes if the seizure is unresolved. Intramuscular injections, which may be used as a muscle relaxant or to promote calm in psychiatric patients, are typically two to four milligrams.

Patient response to lorazepam can change the dosage. People starting the drug on a low amount may find that it provides symptom control. Taking more lorazepam isn’t necessary when patients are already being effectively treated. The dose could also be lowered to reduce patient side effects.

Frequently, lorazepam dosage for conditions like anxiety has to increase over time. Patients tend to develop a tolerance to lower doses if the medication is being used for lengthy periods. A basic guideline for lorazepam used to treat non-emergent conditions is that the lowest effective amount is preferred. Feedback from patients can help determine when increases are needed.

Some medical conditions contraindicate this drug. Alternately, they may change the lorazepam dosage. When people have kidney disease, for example, they may take half of what is usually recommended.

Certain medications also could alter lorazepam dosage indications. Opioid drugs, psychoactive medications, and anti-seizure medicines may fall into this group. Taking more than one benzodiazepine tends to mean taking smaller amounts of lorazepam. Certain drug interactions will require adjusting the amount of lorazepam or increasing or decreasing the dose of another drug used.

Many physicians prefer not to give lorazepam for long periods of time because it creates dependence. In some circumstances, the benefits of long-term use exceed this risk. Careful discontinuation of lorazepam is just as important as initiation of therapy. More than a month’s consistent use warrants a tapered reduction of the medication to avoid benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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