Ativan is an antianxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. Ativan and other benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that nerves in the brain use to send messages to one another. GABA inhibits activity in many of the nerves of the brain, and it is thought that this excessive activity is what causes anxiety or other psychological disorders. Because Ativan is removed from the blood more rapidly than many other benzodiazepines, there is less chance that Ativan concentrations in blood will reach high levels and become toxic. Ativan has fewer interactions with other medications than most of the other benzodiazepines.

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