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How safe is the drug lorazepam?

Q: I have been taking ativan (lorazepam) for about 3 years. I take it anywhere between 4-6mg a day due to severe anxiety/agoraphobia and panic disorder. I also have a few health problems like asthma, mitral valve prolapse and hypoglycaemia. I tried all the paxil type medicines and they didn't work. My question is how safe is lorazepam? Do you think lorazepam is the best treatment for what I explained along with psychotherapy. My memory has gone worse; will that come back after the discontinuation of lorazepam? Sometime I have a burning sensation while urinating, could that be due to use of lorazepam?

A:It is very difficult to determine the extent of impairment of memory due to disease or drug, since both can cause such an adverse effect. Short term use of lorazepam does not lead to impaired memory. Long term use can lead to urinary retention ultimately leading to pain while passing urine. One should drink plenty of fluids to avoid this side effect.

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