How Long After Ativan Can You Drink (And Why)?

Exact Answer: at least 12 hours

Ativan is a prescription medication known by its generic name Lorazepam. Ativan is a benzodiazepine sedative that is used under strict prescription. The drug is generally prescribed by medical practitioners as an anti-anxiety medication. Ativan is also used to manage other conditions like alcohol withdrawal and IBS. The main components of the drug place it in the Xanax and Valium family of drugs.

This medication must only be used when prescribed by a doctor. The most prolonged usage of this drug is stipulated only for patients experiencing seizures. Otherwise, the drug is prescribed for a week or two. However, the consumption of alcohol is generally not advisable when one is one Ativan.

How Long After Ativan Can You Drink

How Long After Ativan Can You Drink?

The thumb rule when consuming benzodiazepines is to refrain from the consumption of other intoxicating substances. This is the most significant norm that doctors remind their patients time and again. The effects of consuming Ativan with alcohol can be severe and may also affect the already existent condition of the patient.

Generally, the medical warning for all patients on Ativan is to avoid alcohol consumption until after the course of the drug is over. Usually, the duration of an Ativan prescription is considerably short. Most patients are on Ativan for a week or two, until their condition improves. In this case, the patient in question can consume alcohol after the dosage of the drug is over. This is the most medically sound manner of consumption.

Sometimes the drug is also prescribed for intermittent usage. This would imply that a patient with anxiety may ingest the drug only when his or her condition aggravates. In such intermittent cases, the pattern of Ativan and alcohol consumption may be tweaked a little from the thumb rule.

Patients can consume alcohol after at least 12 hours or more of taking an Ativan dose. Again this is only applicable for patients who are on an intermittent course of the drug and are not using it for a prolonged time.

In cases of epileptic seizures, where Ativan is prescribed for prolonged usage, alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited. One cannot consume any intoxicants in such a scenario as the level of nervous depressants in the body is already quite high due to regular Ativan consumption.

In Summary:

Circumstances of UseWaiting Time
At least 12 hours
EpilepsyAlcohol consumption is prohibited

Why Do You Have To Wait To Drink After Ativan?

The rationale behind the stipulated waiting period between the intake of Ativan and the consumption of alcohol is that both have a similar impact on the body and the central nervous system. The intoxicating impact of the two can severely hamper bodily functions as well as the patient’s internal organs.

Both Ativan and alcohol act as tranquilizers by releasing GABA. When both these substances are concentrated in the body, the pressure on the liver to filter out these toxins becomes overwhelmingly high. This is when the threat of overdose becomes quite apparent.

Moreover, both these substances can hamper bodily functions as they partially impair the central nervous system. There are several side effects linked to the rising intoxicant levels of the body including memory lapses, blackouts, accidents, drop in blood pressure, slow breathing, etc.

Since the half-life of Ativan is 12 hours, a patient on an intermittent prescription of Ativan has to wait for at least 10 to 12 hours to allow the intoxicating effect of the drug to wear out before he or she can consume alcohol.

When a patient suffers from epileptic seizures, the individual must be kept on a steady course of Ativan. Thus, the drug never really leaves the body. It remains in the bloodstream for a good number of days when ingested regularly. In such cases, alcohol consumption must be avoided completely.

The thumb rule with Ativan is to avoid alcohol or any other intoxicating drug. Consult the physician in charge of your care if you are still on the edge about the specific waiting period before it is safe to consume alcohol. It is also always best to refrain from self-medication. If one feels the need to take an Ativan, one must get the approval of a medical professional immediately.


As a benzodiazepine, Ativan is prescribed only when its need is clearly indicated in the patient. Doctors refrain from prescribing the drug when the condition at hand can be managed through other drugs or modes of therapy. Ativan is known to depress the central nervous system of the patient and this effect can be aggravated further when it is taken with any other intoxicant.

Due to its intoxicating effect, doctors refrain patients from consuming alcohol with Ativan. It is generally considered to be extremely harmful when both these substances are mixed in the body of the patient. However, if one is on an intermittent prescription of the drug, then the individual may consume alcohol after at least 12 hours of taking Ativan.


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