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How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Ativan is a benzodiazepine medication that is prescribed to treat anxiety and seizures. While this medication is known to help soothe the symptoms of anxiety and stop seizures from occurring, Ativan is a common drug of abuse. Keeping this in mind, individuals who suffer from substance abuse often misuse Ativan. The abuse of Ativan may cause serious side-effects and consequences, including failed drug tests.

If you or a loved one misuse Ativan and have wondered how long Ativan stays in your system, we have your answers. While it’s impossible to say exactly how long it will take Ativan to leave your system, the medication will generally be cleared from your system after nine days.

What is Ativan (Lorazepam)?

Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication with sedative properties. While this drug is typically prescribed for anxiety or seizure disorders, it may also be used in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, irritable bowel syndrome, and nausea from chemotherapy.

Ativan works by depressing the central nervous system. Because of this, drinking alcohol or using other substances in conjunction with Ativan may cause fatal respiratory depression.

Ativan is classified as a Schedule IV drug, indicating that this medication has a lower risk of abuse than Schedule III drugs like Ketamine. However, Ativan is known to be habit-forming and highly addictive when misused. Because of this, Ativan is only prescribed for a short period of time.

If you or a loved one are currently taking Ativan regularly, it is not safe to stop this medication suddenly. If you plan to quit taking Ativan, contact your doctor or a medical professional for advice.

Additionally, if you are addicted to Ativan, make sure to attend a professional medication-assisted detox program before quitting this drug. Stopping Ativan suddenly can cause serious symptoms of withdrawal without proper medical intervention.

How Long is Ativan Detectable by Drug Tests?

Even though Ativan is a fast-acting drug, it has a long half-life.[1] To explain, the half-life of this medication is 12 hours, meaning it decreases in concentration in the body (by half) every 12 hours.

Ativan is metabolized by the liver and then eliminated from the body by the kidneys, through urine. Ativan is known to be present in the body for up to nine days after ingestion.

How long Ativan stays in your system depends on several factors. If you are taking a drug test for work and you are prescribed Ativan, it is important to remember that it will show up on your drug test. Disclose this information with the testing lab so they can properly interpret the results.

Let’s take a look at how long Ativan is detectable in your system by each type of drug test.

Blood Tests

Ativan can be detected in your blood as soon as six hours after ingesting it. Additionally, Ativan continues to be detectable by blood testing until three days after the last use. However, if you have been taking large doses of Ativan, the substance will remain detectable in your system longer.

Urine Tests

Depending on the dosage and frequency of use, Ativan is eliminated from the urine from one to six weeks after consumption. However, urine screening tests only detect Ativan for up to six days after the last use. It is important to note that individuals who take high doses of Ativan for long periods will have a longer window of detection in regards to urine screening tests.

Hair Follicle Tests

As with any substance, Ativan is detectable in hair samples for much longer than any other form of drug test. Ativan may be detected in hair samples for up to 30 days.

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests have been proven to be able to detect Ativan for up to eight hours after use.[2] However, it is extremely uncommon for saliva tests to be utilized for the detection of Ativan.

Factors That Affect How Long Ativan Stays in Your System

There are many factors that contribute to how long Ativan stays in your system. While detection times typically follow a consistent timeline, some individuals may metabolize and clear the substance faster (or slower) than others.


Typically, older individuals eliminate Ativan from their systems more slowly than younger people. This is most likely because older people have slower metabolisms, decreased organ function, lower blood flow, and other health issues that affect how quickly Ativan is metabolized.

Kidney Function

Studies have proven that liver impairment does not have much of an impact on Ativan clearance rates. However, kidney issues are associated with a prolonged half-life of Ativan, causing the drug to leave the body at a slower rate.

Height and Weight

Short and small-bodied individuals tend to clear Ativan from their system slower than tall and heavy individuals. If you are overweight, Ativan may stay in your system longer than someone who is of healthy weight or underweight.

Dosage and Frequency of Use

Individuals who take higher doses of Ativan should expect a longer detection time. Additionally, Ativan is detectable for a longer period in individuals who have been taking the substance for a long time. The longer you’ve been taking Ativan, the longer it will stay in your system and be detected on drug tests.

Use of Additional Substances

Using multiple substances at once will always impact the way Ativan is metabolized. For example, it has been found that consuming alcohol while taking Ativan reduces clearance rates by 18%.[3] Additionally, studies have shown that short-term alcohol consumption impairs the coupling of the drug or its metabolites with other molecules, which slows the metabolism process of Ativan.

Treatment for Ativan Addiction

If you or a loved one have been taking Ativan, it’s important to consult with your doctor before stopping use. It is likely for physical dependence to occur, even when taking Ativan as prescribed.

With that being said, you will most likely need to medically taper off of Ativan to avoid symptoms of withdrawal. If you find that you are addicted to Ativan, you should contact a reputable drug rehab program near you.

Contact Carolina Recovery Center today for more information on treating Ativan addiction.