Your child needs to take the medicine called lorazepam (say: lor-A-ze-pam). This information sheet explains what lorazepam does, how to give it, and what side effects or problems your child may have when he or she takes this medicine.
What is lorazepam?
Lorazepam is used to stop seizures. It is also used for anxiety and to relieve muscle spasms. Lorazepam comes as a sublingual tablet that can be used sublingually (under the tongue) or buccally (in the pocket between the cheek and gums).
You may also hear lorazepam called its brand name Ativan®.
Before giving lorazepam to your child
Tell your doctor if your child has any unusual or allergic reaction to lorazepam or anything in the lorazepam tablets.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if your child has any of the following conditions. This medicine may not be right for your child if he/she has:
- liver or kidney disease: a dose adjustment in lorazepam may be needed
- lung disease: lorazepam may worsen breathing problems
How should I give my child lorazepam?
- Give this medicine exactly as your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist tells you to.
- This medicine should only be given when your child needs it. Speak to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about when you should give this medicine to your child.
- Give this tablet by placing it under the tongue (sublingually) or in the pocket between the cheek and gums (buccally).
- When your child is having a seizure, sometimes it is not possible to place the tablet under the tongue because the jaw is closed shut. Instead, place the tablet in the pocket between the cheek and gums (buccally).
- If your child swallows the medicine, it will not work as quickly at stopping the seizure.
To give this medicine buccally, follow these steps:
Dry out the area between the cheek and gums using a tissue, when possible. This gets rid of extra saliva (spit) that might prevent the tablet from getting into the lining of the gums.
Place the tablet in the pocket between the cheek and gums. Gently rub the outside of the cheek (over the area where the tablet was placed) for about 30 seconds. This helps melt the tablet more quickly. It may take a couple of minutes before the seizure stops.
Wait 5 minutes for the seizure to stop. If the seizure does not stop in 5 minutes, call 911 or take your child to the closest hospital emergency department, unless your doctor has told you otherwise.
What are the possible side effects of lorazepam?
This medicine may make your child drowsy, dizzy, or less alert than normal. Rarely, a child may become hyperactive or irritable (grumpy) for some time. Check with your child's doctor if your child continues to have any of these side effects and they do not go away, or they bother your child.
When should I contact my doctor?
Most of the following side effects are not common, but they may be a sign of a serious problem. Call your child's doctor right away or take your child to Emergency if your child has any of these side effects:
- shortness of breath
- severe drowsiness
- trouble breathing
- severe weakness
- slurred speech
- seizures that do not stop
What safety measures should you take when your child is using lorazepam?
Check with your child's doctor or pharmacist before you give your child any other medicines, even medicines you can buy without a doctor's order (prescription). Lorazepam does not work well with some medicines, such as cough and cold medicines, and medicines which contain alcohol.
Lorazepam may make your child dizzy, drowsy, and less alert than normal. Watch carefully when your child is doing something that he or she needs to be alert for, such as climbing stairs.
What other important information should you know about lorazepam?
Keep a list of all medications your child is on and show the list to the doctor or pharmacist.
Do not share your child’s medicine with others. Do not give anyone else’s medicine to your child.
Make sure you always have enough lorazepam on hand in case your child needs it. Call your pharmacy at least 2 days before your child runs out of medicine to order refills.
Keep lorazepam at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Do NOT store it in the bathroom or kitchen.
Do not keep any medicines that are out of date. Check with your pharmacist about the best way to throw away outdated or leftover medicines.
Keep lorazepam out of your child’s sight and reach and locked up in a safe place. If your child takes too much lorazepam, call the Ontario Poison Centre at one of these numbers. These calls are free.
- Call 416-813-5900 if you live in Toronto.
- Call 1-800-268-9017 if you live somewhere else in Ontario.
- If you live outside of Ontario, call your local Poison Information Centre.
Disclaimer: The information in this Family Med-aid is accurate at the time of printing. It provides a summary of information about lorazepam and does not contain all possible information about this medicine. Not all side effects are listed. If you have any questions or want more information about lorazepam, speak to your health care provider.