September 12, 2023

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

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Many people who are prescribed Ativan (a benzodiazepine) have questions like:

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  • How long does Ativan last?
  • Ativan: how long does it stay in your system?
  • How long is Ativan in your system for the purposes of drug screenings?

When ingested orally, Ativan has a relatively slow absorption rate and an intermediate onset of action, typically ranging between 15 and 30 minutes, setting it apart from other benzodiazepines. The peak effects of an oral dose of Ativan are generally experienced within two hours or so.

Ativan is among the brand names associated with the benzodiazepine medication lorazepam. Primarily prescribed for addressing clinically significant anxiety issues, lorazepam is also indicated as an anesthetic or preanesthetic agent. Additionally, it can be effective in managing seizures, aiding sleep, and alleviating withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or other benzodiazepines.

Half-Life of Ativan

How long does Ativan stay in your system hinges on the elimination half-life of the drug. The Ativan half-life ranges from 10 to 20 hours for most people. Typically, it requires about five half-lives for a medicinal dose of a drug to be fully eliminated from the body. Individuals with significant tolerance, such as those who have been consuming high doses, may experience extended elimination times.

Research suggests that Ativan is predominantly metabolized in the liver and subsequently excreted through the kidneys via urine. For most people, elimination of the primary Ativan compound occurs within five days of administration. Nevertheless, certain metabolites of lorazepam, resulting from the drug’s breakdown, might linger in the system for over a week in some cases.

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Ativan Effects Timeline

Individual responses to Ativan can vary based on factors like dosage, metabolism, and tolerance. Additionally, extended-release formulations may have different onset and duration profiles. The effects of Ativan can be categorized into several phases after ingestion, each with its own distinct characteristics. This timeline provides a general overview of the typical progression of effects for the immediate-release form of Ativan.

Onset phase (15 to 30 minutes)

After oral ingestion, Ativan’s slow absorption results in an intermediate onset. Individuals typically start to feel the initial calming and anxiety-reducing effects within 15 to 30 minutes.

Peak effects (1 to 2 hours)

The peak effects of Ativan occur around 1 to 2 hours after ingestion. During this phase, individuals experience the maximum anxiolytic and sedative effects of the medication.

Plateau phase (2 to 6 hours)

The effects of Ativan remain relatively stable during this period. Individuals continue to experience reduced anxiety, sedation, and relaxation.

Decline phase (6 to 8 hours)

For those concerned about how long does Ativan last, the intensity of Ativan’s effects begins to diminish after the peak phase. Sedation and relaxation persist, but with a gradual reduction in potency.

Subsiding phase (8 to 12 hours)

By this time, most of Ativan’s effects have subsided, although residual calming or drowsiness might persist. Individuals start returning to their baseline state as the drug’s influence wanes.

After effects (up to 24 hours)

Some residual effects, such as calmness or reduced anxiety, might persist for up to 24 hours after ingestion.


How long does Ativan stay in your body?

The duration Ativan stays in the body can vary, but its effects typically last for around 6 to 8 hours. However, traces of the drug might be detectable in the system for longer periods, depending on factors like metabolism and dosage.

How long does Ativan stay in your urine?

Ativan can be detectable in urine for a relatively short period, usually up to 3 days after the last dose. 

How long does it take for Ativan to wear off?

The effects of Ativan usually start to wear off within a few hours after ingestion, with the peak effects occurring around 1 to 6 hours after taking the medication. However, residual sedation or calmness might persist for longer, and individual responses may vary.

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 Get Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

While benzo addiction is aggravating and disruptive, it also responds favorably to evidence-based treatment. We deliver a variety of addiction treatment programs at Gratitude Lodge. We have pet-friendly rehab facilities located in Long Beach and Newport Beach, CA. Here, you can begin your recovery journey with a supervised benzo detox.

Medical detoxification lets you take advantage of a tapered reduction in Ativan dosage, streamlining the intensity of benzodiazepine detox. After a week or so, you can transition into ongoing treatment. Personalized treatment plans utilize the following holistic and evidence-based interventions:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic therapies like mindfulness and meditation
  • Aftercare support and planning

There is no need so suffer or to feel alone if you are addicted to Ativan. Call Gratitude Lodge today at 888-861-1658 for immediate assistance.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Russe MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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