Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar


  • Emma LecarieEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102087-1



A benzodiazepine medication used to relieve anxiety. Lorazepam is also used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, epilepsy, insomnia, nausea/vomiting from cancer treatment, and to control agitation caused by alcohol withdrawal. Additionally, it is used for surgery to interfere with memory formation and to sedate those who are being mechanically ventilated. Lorazepam works by slowing activity in the brain to allow for relaxation. It acts as a sedative, hypnotic, anticonvulsant, and has muscle relaxant properties. Lorazepam primarily works by modifying the amount and action of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), specifically enhancing the effects of the GABA neurotransmitter at the GABA receptors by increasing the frequency of opening of the chloride ion channels of the GABA receptors.

Lorazepam was developed by D.J. Richards, the President of Research of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, in 1977. This benzodiazepine comes as a tablet or concentrate to take by...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Reading

  1. Allison, D. B., Basile, V. C., & MacDonald, R. B. (1991). Brief report: Comparative effects of antecedent exercise and lorazepam on the aggressive behavior of an autistic man. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 21(1), 89–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Consoli, A., Gheorghiev, C., Jutard, C., Bodeau, N., Kloeckner, A., Pitron, V., … & Bonnot, O. (2010). Lorazepam, fluoxetine and packing therapy in an adolescent with pervasive developmental disorder and catatonia. Journal of Physiology, Paris, 104(6), 309–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dhossche, D. M. (2014). Decalogue of catatonia in autism spectrum disorders. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 5, 157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fatemi, S. H., Reutiman, T. J., Folsom, T. D., & Thuras, P. D. (2009). GABA A receptor downregulation in brains of subjects with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(2), 223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Pomara, N., Lee, S. H., Bruno, D., Silber, T., Greenblatt, D. J., Petkova, E., & Sidtis, J. J. (2015). Adverse performance effects of acute lorazepam administration in elderly long-term users: Pharmacokinetic and clinical predictors. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 56, 129–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Child Study CenterNew HavenUSA