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long term daily ativan


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hello. i haven't posted for a while -- i've been doing pretty well, and when i'm not well i get myself really busy to forget about it. ;)

i've been taking ativan daily for about four years now... i think. maybe only three. (i've been taking prozac with it for that amount of time, also.) i'm curious about the med's long term side effects, or whether any develop. i looked on google a little, but it's really hard to find accurate information about any mental meds because they are so controversial. the first google link for "long term prozac" is pretty scary, but without much proof to back it up.

i've started twitching a lot, and weirdly, lately. i've also developed other weirdnesses at about the same time (knee & hip pain) which i think are because of something seperate from my mental & med situation, so i want to find out what's with the twitching, because it doesn't really fit in anywhere.

also, i know that ativan isn't even approved for daily usage. (is it?) i know it's not good. i've had a few ER or unfamiliar doctors flip out on me. "you can't take ativan every day!" but i do, and at last check, i have to. i'm thinking about going off of it for the summer and experimenting with the idea of taking it on an as-needed basis rather than a daily basis, but i'm really worried about that. there just aren't many drugs for everyday panic and GAD in general except for SSRIs, and those do absolutely nothing for anxiety for me. also because i've had to slowly raise it a few times, because it lost it's efficacy, and i'm starting to reach the limit. (i have talked to my pdoc about this - he said that ativan shouldn't really be taken daily, but that i've got such bad anxiety that if it works, it's what i'm going to use.)

i'd like to find more information on prozac & ativan, but at the moment it's just ativan i'm more concerned with. anyone know a reputable source for information like this? or do i just need to take everything with a grain of salt?

thank you. <3

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I don't really know where you can get info other that you pdoc or pharmacist.

I can tell you my own personal experience - I took ativan at least twice a day plus prn's for probably 10 years and most of that time while also taking prozac. no ill effects that i could attribute to either though at about 10 years i finally began to have a tolerance to the ativan and needed more, so i switched to klonopin which i'd been on prior to the ativan.

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A lot of people are on atvian on a daily basis. I dare say its safe and not uncommon. There are the normal issues with benzo tolerance and dependence that you have to watch out for, but otherwise it should be ok if you are taking it as directed by your dr.

As for prozac, it has been on the market for many years and there are thousands of people who have been taking it for 20 years or more. There is no reason to believe there are long term side effects. There is a lot of propaganda out there about ssris and sometimes its often hard to sort through the crap.

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There is a lot of propaganda out there about ssris and sometimes its often hard to sort through the crap.

there's an insane amount of propaganda about all the crazy meds, esp prozac because it's so well known. -sigh-

okay, i feel better now. thank you. i was worried that there weren't many people taking it, since doctors always flip out on me. oh well, it's okay.

thank you both very much. ;)

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  • 10 months later...
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I have been taking Ativan at a dosage of 2mg each 3 times a day for 6 months now. I am starting to feel that it is NOT working as good as it use to. (of course)

I am going to have a talk with my psychDr next visit about maybe changing to a different Benzo and try it a while. But I have had no ill effects from taking it at that dosage these 6 months.

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I've been off and on lorazepam at doses varying from one as needed to seven regularly throughout the day. Currently at 4 throughout the day on a regular schedule. SOmetimes I feel more dumb with numbers and math, remembering if I've actually said something out loud or just thought it, and a few other cognitive changes... but that could be from the copious amounts of other meds I've been taking, so it's hard to separate.

I would however, based on what I've read from peoples' experiences. have a LONG SLOW taper if you've been on a benzo for a while. It takes a while for your brain to get used to life without it.

Peace,

Wooster

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Sounds like another group of people that think anti-depressants make people zombies and want to kill themselves. Sure there are some that do, but it's normally children who don't understand or weren't informed about the medication.

Ativan is totally safe daily... and of course prozac is pretty safe if you know what to expect.

I took ativan 3 times a day for a year. Then moved on to klonopin, then valium.

Also: Lexapro and Paxil CR helped me for anxiety... but those are brand names... maybe celexa will be good? It's not very popular anymore, but I know 4 or 5 people on it that say it calms their anxiety. Also - If your doctor is saying you shouldn't use ativan daily... ask him "Then why do I have these panic attacks when I don't take them daily?" Doctors can be hardheaded sometimes.

Edited by Uncreate
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Ativan is safe daily for some but not all people. There are alternatives to benzos that are safer for many people, and that work better for many people as well. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a non-drug treatment that has been very effective for panic attacks for many people - often more effective than medication since its effects last after you've completed a course of treatment. There are also non-benzo drugs that can be very effective. I take seroquel daily for anxiety, and it has been more effective than when I took klonopin daily.

People need to work with their doctors to get their panic and anxiety adequately addressed, not to be working with their doctors to get benzos. Benzos can be extremely helpful for some people - I use klonopin prn now to keep me functional through mood swings - but they're not the only or necessarily even the best treatment.

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:)

Get this!!!

I've been on Ativan for a long time at varying doses. The last couple of years, I've been taking 2mg a day, split into four times a day. I've never not admitted that I'm addicted to it because I've been on it such a long time and tried in the last nine months to go off of it (very slowly) and ran into withdrawals. My Pdoc. recommended that I go back up on it because in the Fall we finally found a cocktail (after three years) that finally started working and we certainly did not want to upset the apple cart this early in the game. I've never abused the Ativant. I've always taken it as directed by my Pdoc.

Well, my SO (whom I lived with) and one of my closest friends (who comes from a recovery background) felt that I would do better off of the Ativan. (without consulting my Pdoc or Tdoc-(and they both had readily access to them) tricked me (yes it can be done) into going into a drug and alcohol detox and recovery program. I thought I was going into a psychiatric rehabilitation program. It took me about an hour to realize where I was and I raised holy hell. Do you know how hard it is to get out of a place like that? It rarely happens. (I was in "denial", of course) It took me three days and they then brought a Pdoc. over froma Psych. unit from another program on the grounds until (I know they thought I was crazy after all the hell I raised-they didn't know what to do with me) I was released.

I spent and hour with the Pdoc. He said I was in the wrong place and he did not know how I got there. He released me the same day. I know how I got there. My close friend has connections. (and I know them too although I haven't talked to them in years) Immediately upon arriving there they switched me to Klonopin and started tapering me.

AFTER I got out I was told by my SO that I could not come back to his house unless I finished the six week program. Actually, I got that information through a message. He would not let me in the house to get my things. He was very cold and would not talk to me. My close friend was FURIOUS! He acalled my family (including my two boys and my sister) and a friend and told them not to help me in any way!!! It's a good thing I had some money and could rent a motel.

By the way, my Pdoc. increased the Ativan. I was a nervous wreck! I was shaking all over and could not concentrate. You can imagine the "discussions" I had with everyone trying to defend myself with long explanations and trying to get them to understand. I finally said "the hell with this". I was worn out, extremely shocked and hurt, and I just completely quit trying to defend myself.

They were trying to do some sort of intervention or tough love kind of thing. Don't ask how I know this but, I know that my close friend was advised by his counselor that it was all entirely inappropriate!

Sorry if I thread jacked but this is where Ativan has gotten me in the last month! Idiots. ;)

They are so stupid! (even if they were trying to do what they thought was right)

Very disappointed,

Sunshine Outside :)

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i was on ativan 3 years. started at .5 2 times a day then at the end ended upa t 4 mg a day. i recently switched to klonopin and am weaning off of it. i was horribly addicted to my ativan and i was taking it as prescribed. im glad im off of it as much as i loved it.

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I've been taking ativan on and off for about 10 yrs.( I know I posted earlier in this thread that I'd swtiched to Klonopin but it made me horribly depressed so I went back to the ativan.)

I am so grateful that it works for me. When I go really crazy with panic its the only thing that will bring me down.

Most of these years its been .5 twice a day plus any prns. Its taken this long to build up a tolerance where I need more. ( also may relate to other issues that I am that much more anxious too.)

Now I take 1 mg at a time and oocasionally if it so bad I'll add another .5. up to 5 or 6 mg in a day.

I've always taken it as prescribed. I know I depend on it a lot. I don't know that it matters much to me if I'm dependent or addicted to it. I feel like if its doing what its meant to- I don't see a problem. I don't see it being any different from taking my lithium or my thyroid medicine, all of which are lifetime meds.

I know its a problem for people who suffer from substance abuse issues, but I have trouble understanding why so many people want to get off of it. and its not like they want to get off their ADs or APs. I feel like I'm missing something. I take a ton of meds- why is this one considered- i don't know-- evil? I don't want to try to be heroic and battle through all my anxiety and panic. I think i'd die of exhaustion trying to fight it.( and yes I've done all the cognitive behavioral etc stuff too) Am I addicted to lithium too?

Why is switching to another benzo "better", or why go on another benzo to taper off this one- wouldn't it be a never ending cycle??

Am I supposed to want to get off it? I don't want to. I could only imagine the horror I would feel if someone tricked me like SO- what a horrble sounding experience!!

I feel like I'm missing something. Am I wrong? Am I an addict with a problem?

( in reading this over , it could sound sarcastic or mad- its really not- I'm really honestly wanting to know.)

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nah babe everyone is different, i just got sick of missing rx's because the doctor was out and i would go through w/ds and my tolerence was sky rocketing. trust me i love ativan. i love it too much. i would wake up and be shakey and feel sick till i got that pill in me. i was addicted, and i still am in general to benzos. if it works for you awesome!

but if you end up in a rock and a hard place and cant get them anymore i gaurentee youll wish you never took them, its an aweful feeling.

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I was hardly addicted for a good reason to benzos. But now that I have taken valium... I seem to not need it near as much. I have no idea why. Maybe it's the lamictal i'm on now... or getting off Paxil CR. I don't know...

I think it's bad that benzos have the same stigma that opiates do these days in some circles. They are completely different dammit. I've seriously never felt "high" off of some benzos... even when I tried to (I was depressed) They might be addictive but what is the danger in taking them normally? And feeling less anxiety? I'd love to know what's so wrong with it. I know people use them as boosters for alcohol, narcotics, etc. But... alone they don't get me high. Just relaxed... I know the difference.

SunshineOutside - Your Significant Other didn't seem very understanding of the situation.

Why don't people trust us "crazy" people? o.O

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I was on ativan and xanax for five years. I was taking 5mg of ativan and 1 mg of xanax a day. This was a precrition by one doc. I was cluless....I had been so ill and was so gratefull for relief. I could drive and stay awake completey. I didnt even realize I was addicted....omce ina while I would take more for a panic attack and it seems like nothing would happen tocalm me.

We moved and i got this quack of a pdoc who tortured me for nearly two months cold turkey...took me off sleep meds, benzos, and ritalin. I crawled the floor in my home in pain days on end. vommited what little i could even eat, became very tiny. My family took me to ER ( after several trips withthe quack) . This time a differrent Pdoc filled in , I switched to her. She was the head of Psych in the hosptital an d clininc. He got fired. She Gave me my first rest in ages and then gave me some klonopin. The move triggerred psychosis, so I was so MI during the withdrawl all those weeks, I was not able to think how stupid the whole thing was.

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this is from personal experience and my opinion and obviously will not apply to every individual:

Interesting forum here...I think these meds results varies on the person but as is with most meds I think people jump to conclusions. Ativan or lorazepam as the generic seems to have been working fine with me for several years. My doctor originally did not like the idea of me going on it long term but it worked better for me than either Xanax or Klonazepam(klonopin).These are all closely related benzos . Xanax last about 6-8 hrs, Ativan lasts about 12 hours and Klonopin is 24 hrs. They ALL make you drowsy , BUT this is something that you build a tolerance to after a bit of time. I function on 1 mg of lorazepam twice daily. It keeps the anxiety at bay. I work a completely normal job on it, and it's the only anxiety med I take. It still works after 3-4 years. You can and probably will become dependent on any of these as they clearly warn. I tried lexapro but still had to supplement with ativan. I dropped the lexapro as I was only dealing with acute anxiety/panic when mistakenly told by cardiologist I had heart problems.

From personal experience I can tell you that all 3 of these closely related benzos work well for anxiety, BUT they all seemed to make me dream very vividly . The ativan seemed to be the most tolerable for the dreaming and 12 hrs was a nice dose for easy to remember twice a day . Xnax wears off a little too quickly and therefore in my opinion leads to quicker dependence due to needing it more often. Klonopin will knock you out easier since it is a bit stronger. I find the ativan to be very useful and the easiest to tolerate .

Many people say that these benzos are high risk for dependency and they are correct. I have only increased my dosage slightly over the years but it did increase. I think for many people that are

different, that this could be a major issue. However, these drugs work VERY quickly for anxiety attacks, which is thier major plus. If I feel an attack coming on, I take an Ativan and I have the peace of mind knowing I will be fine in about an hour . Xanax is even quicker.

If you are ONLY dealing with anxiety and not other issues, I highly recommend one of these three depending on your severity, if you want almost instant relief. I, myself, am embarking on a different route beginning today. I started taking Buspirone today (which is not a true Benzo) is not habit forming, and when given time, is supposed to work well for anxiety. I am going to try a 2 week taper period on the ativan while beginning my Buspirone, and hopefully the withdrawals from the ativan will be mild. I am sure I will have some side effects from stopping one and starting the other but after 2 or 3 weeks I will have a better idea. I just do not like the idea of being on ativan the rest of my life even if the dosage increases slowly and slightly.

In the end, if you are dealing with sudden anxiety and want true quick relief, I say try the benzo. First choice being ativan .(many ER's ) give this for anxiety attacks over xanax and klonopin. Beware however, that this is a bandaid for the problem (albeit a very good one) . You are going to deal with drowsiness at first as your body gets used to the drug, so do not be surprised.But I do not recommend trying to counter this with a stimulant.You will get used to it. I function at an extremely high level and am on it 24/7. I drive on it with no issues, etc. JUST GIVE YOUR BODY 2 WEEKS to get used to it. And always take the smallest dose that works as to avoid unnecessary over dependence. And if you stop taking it, taper off like is advised. For other folks that seem to rarely need it, maybe they should try an alternative such as Buspirone(Buspar) with less risk and side effects, but just remember , drugs like that take a few weeks to build up effectiveness, so be patient. And for all those people that have doctors that put them on true antidepressants and you feel you only have anxiety issues, I would think about finding a doctor who is willing to listen to you before they throw you on a combination of drugs. Hope this helps even one person.

I just wanted to add for first timers considering these meds, please research techniques like deep breathing and relaxation . The breathing really works if you concentrate . It's all a matter of SLOWING your body down when you have a panic attack. If you can get through an attack without meds, I advise doing that. I can assure you , just as they post everywhere, people do not die from panic /anxiety attacks. It just feels like you are going to. Diaphragm breathing really works if done right as it slows your body down in its fight or flight response . If you can master that , you won't need meds. It will not work for eveyone but I am sure there are some whom it iwll do wonders for. When you are about to have an attack, find a quiet , comfortable , relaxing place t go, and work on your breathing, and find something to focus your mind on for about 15-20 minutes. (recite poetry, count backwards, whatever occupies your mind) gain I hope this helps at least one person.Please email me if it does.

Edited by lefty11
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nah babe everyone is different, i just got sick of missing rx's because the doctor was out and i would go through w/ds and my tolerence was sky rocketing. trust me i love ativan. i love it too much. i would wake up and be shakey and feel sick till i got that pill in me. i was addicted, and i still am in general to benzos. if it works for you awesome!

but if you end up in a rock and a hard place and cant get them anymore i gaurentee youll wish you never took them, its an aweful feeling.

To avoid running out of Meds : always use the smallest dose possible to get you through. I developed a system that only required taking half of the Doctor's recommended dose but I made sure to refill the script after it would have ran out according to the prescribed dose.This basically enabled me to NOT having to worry about running out and always having a supply if needed on hand. After several months, you should have enough for any emergency should you run out or go on vacation, etc. One thing you want to avoid, once you have been on this med for a while, is running out suddenly . This can bring on the grand-daddy of panic attacks.This may not work for everyone but did work great for me. The pills are eaily broken in halves and if you find you need more than that , you can always adjust. I was able to basically stockpile a supply for those times when I could not get the prescription refilled immediately.

Edited by lefty11
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i dont particularly enjoy people acting like they know it all about meds and then saying everyone is different and that these are their experiances with the drugs.

;)

I am not sure but sounds like you are referring to your own post. I do not know everything about meds, but I have taken ativan for years, and I have done many many many hours of reading on the medicine.I am speaking from MY personal experiences and no one else's. I thought it was clear if you took the time to read the posts.I have nothing to gain from my post here and really was hoping to shed some light on the subject of ativan for someone who had questions. I thought that was the purpose of forums like this. Seems like there is always some jerk out there who has to make a negative commentary in a forum . It's like TV , if you do not like it, do not watch(or in this case, read) I was trying to give someone some advice about not running out( like you eluded to) but seems like YOU took something personally.Is your objective to be a jerk or help someone ?? Maybe you need something for paranoia . I can say that you do seem to fit your nickname in the post. Dou*hebag , I believe it was. the following is quoted from your post

:nah babe everyone is different, i just got sick of missing rx's because the doctor was out and i would go through w/ds and my tolerence was sky rocketing. trust me i love ativan. i love it too much. i would wake up and be shakey and feel sick till i got that pill in me. i was addicted, and i still am in general to benzos. if it works for you awesome!

but if you end up in a rock and a hard place and cant get them anymore i gaurentee youll wish you never took them, its an aweful feeling.

Edited by lefty11
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  • 9 months later...

I've been using up to 1 mg of Ativan (generic) per night to fall asleep. I've been on it for five years now. My sleep doctor (one of the top sleep docs in New York City) assured me that Ativan is safe to use long term and that he's had patients on it for many years for various sleep ailments. (My particular problem is stinging/biting that wakes me up as I'm drifting off. He called it a "Sleep transition disorder".)

Lately I've had slight cognitive problems - memory loss, difficulty with basic math, foggy brain, etc. I don't know if that's long term use of ativan, or just regular aging (I'm 40).

I've tried many different kinds of drugs (allergy, anti-depressants, sleep meds) and ativan is the best. I can't fall sleep without it. Every time I use it I thank G-d, because nothing is worse than being tired all day due to lack of sleep. Nevertheless, I am still searching for a cure for the stinging/biting so that I'd no longer need it. I have to see my doc every two months for a refill (as required by NYS law). The drug is cheap but the doc costs $100/visit (I don't have insurance). I should tell him I need 2 mg/day so I don't have to see him as often, but I'm not a good liar.

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