How Long Does Ativan Stay In Your System?

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Ativan stays in one's system for up to 24 hours, after which withdrawal symptoms begin to set in. The exact amount of hours depends on several factors, including one's weight, metabolism and dosage taken. Read on to find out what Ativan is, its timeline, and half life.

What Is Ativan?

Ativan, a pharmaceutical drug also known as Lorazepam, belongs to the class of drugs known as Benzodiazepine.

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How Does Ativan Make You Feel?

Ativan has a calming effect on the central nervous system which makes the drug useful for relaxing the body in the treatment of clinical anxiety [1], insomnia, and seizures.

The fast-acting drug releases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GAMA) into the brain which makes the user feel calm and tranquil. Ativan is also used as an anesthetic for surgeries and as a relief from withdrawal symptoms for people recovering from alcohol or other Benzodiazepine drugs [2]

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What Are Benzodiazepines?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) lists benzodiazepines as Schedule IV drug, meaning that it has a moderate potential for abuse. They are also the most prescribed class of medication in the US, so although they can only be obtained legally with a prescription, they are relatively accessible.

The immediate effects of taking Benzodiazepines are pleasant since they relax the central nervous system and effectively treat several disturbing conditions. For example, people struggling with crippling anxiety will find it easier to function, and people unable to sleep at night will finally get some shut-eye. As a result of the drug’s prevalence, effectiveness, and the pleasurable feelings it induces, it has a high potential for misuse. If the drug is taken at a greater dose than prescribed over a long period of time, the body will develop tolerance. This means that a greater dose of the drug is needed to achieve the same results as previously. After playing around with the drug too much, there can be fatal overdose results.

Given its potential for abuse and tolerance, Benzodiazepines should not be prescribed unless a person struggles with intense difficulties like debilitating anxiety or chronic insomnia. Additionally, they should only be used as a short-term aid to behavioral work, such as therapeutical modalities, and not as a long-term solution.

Ativan Timeline

People often wonder: How long does Ativan  stay in your system? To understand the answer, we need first to know the timeline of Ativan. 

Every drug has a unique timeline for its effects on the body. Within the Ativan timeline, the effects vary depending on the dosage taken, the weight and metabolism of the person taking it, and the method of administration. Here’s a basic outline:

·         Immediate effects- After 15-30 minutes of orally consuming Ativan, hormones are released, and the person feels calm and relaxed. When administered intravenously, the effects are more immediate than when administered orally.

·         Peak effects- After around an hour or two, the person will feel the highest levels of relaxation. Since the effects of intravenous administration are more immediate, the peak effects period is shorter too.

·         Gradual decline- For approximately 2 to 8 hours, the concentration of Ativan in the blood slowly declines as the body flushes the drug out of the system. The calming effects are felt, though gradually less and less.

·         Decreased effects- For up to 24 hours after the drug was consumed, there may be residual effects such as slight brain fog. This varies from person to person, depending on the factors mentioned above.

Once the effects wear off completely (after around 24 hours), the person will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. These are incredibly uncomfortable effects on the body from the drug, and very often, the person is compelled to take another dose of the drug to avoid them.

Knowing the timeline of Ativan/ Lorazepam allows you to answer the question: how long does Lorazepam stay in your system?

Ativan Half Life

Ativan half-life, or lorazepam half-life, is the amount of time it takes for the system to metabolize the drug until it reaches half of its original concentration in the bloodstream. The estimated half-life for Ativan is around 12 hours, but it can take up to 20 hours. This brings us to our next question:

How Long Does It Take For Ativan To Wear Off? 

Ativan will go through 5 or 6 half-life cycles (the concentration of Ativan in the blood halves itself every time) until it is removed entirely from the body. However, this is only true for a prescribed dose of Ativan. People who abuse the drug may take larger amounts, resulting in the drug remaining in the system for a longer amount of time.

How Long Does Ativan Stay In Your Urine?

The bloodstream rids itself of Ativan through the liver and kidneys. Ativan then joins the urine in the kidneys and exits the body; therefore, taking a urine screening test is one of the ways that one can detect whether Ativan has been through the system. There are several other ways to test if Ativan was consumed. Each method of testing for Lorazepam in the body has a different window for detection.

1.       Urine test- Ativan can be detected in the urine for up to six days. It will show up in a urine test for longer if it has been abused and may show up for up to nine days after consumption if a more detailed urine test is taken.

2.       Hair follicle test- A hair test is not accurate because the Ativan may not show up at all. When it does show up, it usually is found in very low concentrations.

3.       Saliva test- Ativan will show up in a saliva test from 15 minutes after consumption until around 8 hours.

4.       Blood test- From six hours after Ativan is consumed up until three days, it may show up in a blood sample. It may show up for longer than three days if large doses are taken for more than three days in a row.


Living with an Ativan addiction is frightening. Addiction controls a person’s life, so they are no longer able to make decisions regarding the drug. The good news is that if you or your loved one is struggling with Ativan addiction, rehabilitation is possible! Avenues Recovery offers very effective detox and treatment options that can help you fight your addiction. Reach out to us today to find out how our experienced addiction counselors can help you regain control of your life and reach full recovery.




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