Can you take Ativan with Suboxone? Discover the potential interactions and risks.15 min read

In this article, we will explore the potential risks and interactions associated with taking Ativan and Suboxone together. These two medications are commonly prescribed for different purposes, but it’s essential to understand how they may interact when used simultaneously. Below, we summarize the main key points of this article:

  • Understanding Ativan: Learn about Ativan’s composition, how it works, and its medical uses.
  • Understanding Suboxone: Discover the composition, mechanism of action, and medical applications of Suboxone.
  • Individual Effects of Ativan and Suboxone: Explore the potential side effects of each medication when taken alone.
  • Interactions Between Ativan and Suboxone: Learn whether it is safe to take both medications simultaneously and the possible risks involved.
  • Consulting a Healthcare Professional: Understand the importance of seeking medical advice before combining these drugs.
  • Sharing Medical History and Medications: Discover the significance of informing healthcare providers about your medical history and current medications.

Understanding Ativan

Ativan, also known by its generic name lorazepam, belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It acts on the central nervous system to produce a calming effect and is commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders and insomnia. Ativan enhances the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that inhibits brain activity, resulting in reduced anxiety and relaxation.

Medical Uses of Ativan

Ativan is primarily prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It can also be used as a short-term treatment for insomnia due to its sedative properties. Additionally, Ativan may be administered to help manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms and relieve nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Potential Side Effects of Ativan

  • Common side effects: These may include drowsiness, dizziness, and blurred vision. It is essential to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while taking Ativan.
  • Less common but serious side effects: These may include memory impairment, mood changes, and paradoxical reactions such as increased anxiety or agitation.
  • Risks of dependency and addiction: Prolonged use of Ativan can lead to physical and psychological dependence, making it important to use it only as prescribed.

Understanding Suboxone

Suboxone is a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. It is primarily used in the treatment of opioid dependence and addiction. Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, while naloxone, an opioid antagonist, discourages misuse.

Medical Uses of Suboxone

Suboxone is widely used as a part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs for individuals with opioid addiction. It helps stabilize patients, reduces the risk of relapse, and allows them to focus on recovery without experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms.

Potential Side Effects of Suboxone

  • Common side effects: These may include headache, nausea, and constipation. It is crucial to maintain proper hydration and follow a balanced diet while on Suboxone treatment.
  • Adverse reactions and allergic responses: Some individuals may experience serious allergic reactions or respiratory difficulties when taking Suboxone.
  • Interactions with other medications: Suboxone may interact with certain drugs, especially other central nervous system depressants, leading to potentially dangerous effects.

Can Ativan and Suboxone be taken together?

Potential Interactions

Taking Ativan and Suboxone together can lead to increased central nervous system depression. Both medications can cause drowsiness and respiratory suppression, which may be intensified when used concurrently. This combination is generally not recommended due to the heightened risk of adverse effects.

Risks and Concerns

  • Respiratory depression: Combining these drugs can lead to difficulty breathing and may even be life-threatening, especially in individuals with respiratory issues.
  • Overdose risk: Taking both Ativan and Suboxone can increase the risk of overdose, particularly if higher-than-prescribed doses are used.
  • Increased sedation: The combination can result in excessive sedation and impaired cognitive function.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

Importance of Medical Guidance

Seeking advice from a qualified healthcare professional is crucial before considering any changes in medication. A doctor can evaluate individual health conditions and potential interactions to make informed decisions about treatment options.

Questions to Ask

  • Can Ativan and Suboxone be used together in my case?
  • What are the potential risks and benefits?
  • Are there any alternative medications or therapies to consider?

Gradual Medication Changes

Transitioning Between Medications

If there is a need to switch from Ativan to Suboxone or vice versa, a healthcare provider can guide patients through a gradual transition to minimize potential risks and withdrawal symptoms.

Under Medical Supervision

  • Tapering off Ativan: Abruptly stopping Ativan can lead to withdrawal symptoms, so a doctor may recommend a tapering schedule to safely discontinue its use.
  • Introducing Suboxone: When starting Suboxone, it’s essential to follow the prescribed dosing and adhere to the treatment plan provided by the healthcare provider.

Individual Health Factors

Considering Personal Health

Individual health conditions, medical history, and existing medications play a significant role in determining the safety of combining Ativan and Suboxone.

Medical Evaluation

  • Assessing health status: A doctor will review medical records, perform a physical examination, and assess the patient’s overall health to make appropriate recommendations.
  • Identifying contraindications: Certain medical conditions may contraindicate the use of both medications simultaneously.

Alternative Treatments

Exploring Other Options

In some cases, healthcare providers may suggest alternative treatments to address the underlying conditions without the need for combining Ativan and Suboxone.

Non-Pharmacological Approaches

  • Therapy and counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other counseling modalities can be effective in managing anxiety and opioid addiction.
  • Lifestyle changes: Incorporating exercise, mindfulness practices, and stress reduction techniques can complement treatment.

Monitoring for Adverse Effects

Regular Health Check-ups

Individuals who are prescribed both Ativan and Suboxone should undergo regular health check-ups to monitor their overall well-being and detect any potential side effects or drug interactions.

Key Areas to Monitor

  • Respiratory function: Regular assessments of breathing rate and depth are essential to identify any signs of respiratory depression.
  • Cognitive function: Monitoring cognitive abilities helps detect any signs of impairment caused by the medications.
  • Mood changes: Observing emotional well-being can help identify any negative impacts on mental health.

Emergency Preparedness

Knowing What to Do in Emergencies

Understanding the signs of potential overdose or adverse reactions is crucial for individuals taking Ativan and Suboxone simultaneously.

Emergency Response Plan

  • Recognizing overdose symptoms: Knowing the signs of overdose can help prompt immediate action, including calling emergency services.
  • Informing friends and family: Loved ones should be educated about the medications being taken and the necessary steps to take in emergencies.

Exploring Safer Alternatives

Tailored Treatment Plans

For individuals facing challenges with anxiety and opioid addiction, healthcare providers can develop personalized treatment plans that minimize the need for combining Ativan and Suboxone.

Customized Approaches

  • Targeted therapies: Specific medications or interventions may be more suitable for certain individuals based on their unique circumstances.
  • Medication adjustments: Healthcare providers can adjust dosages or change medications to find the most effective and safe treatment.

Education and Awareness

Empowering Patients with Knowledge

Healthcare providers should educate patients about the risks and potential interactions between Ativan and Suboxone.

Promoting Patient Awareness

  • Providing information: Patients should be informed about the medications they are prescribed, their potential side effects, and the importance of adhering to treatment plans.
  • Encouraging open communication: Patients should feel comfortable discussing any concerns or questions they have with their healthcare provider.

Compliance and Adherence

Following Treatment Guidelines

Adhering to the prescribed dosages and treatment schedules is essential for individuals taking Ativan and Suboxone.

Treatment Plan Adherence

  • Regular medication review: Patients should attend follow-up appointments to discuss their progress and any issues they may be experiencing.
  • Addressing non-compliance: If patients have difficulties following the treatment plan, healthcare providers can work with them to find solutions.

Personal Responsibility

Taking Charge of Your Health

Individuals prescribed Ativan and Suboxone have a responsibility to be proactive in managing their health and treatment.

Being Informed

  • Researching medications: Patients can educate themselves about the medications they are taking to make informed decisions.
  • Tracking symptoms: Keeping a journal of symptoms and experiences can help patients monitor their progress and identify any concerning changes.

Managing Potential Drug Interactions

Interactions with Other Medications

Aside from Ativan and Suboxone, individuals may be taking other medications, and it’s essential to assess potential interactions.

Talking to Your Doctor

  • Comprehensive medication list: Provide your doctor with a complete list of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and herbal remedies.
  • Drug interaction assessment: Healthcare providers can evaluate possible interactions and adjust prescriptions accordingly.

Risk-Benefit Analysis

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Before combining Ativan and Suboxone, healthcare providers carefully consider the potential benefits versus the risks for each individual.

Individualized Approach

  • Assessing condition severity: The severity of anxiety and opioid addiction will be taken into account when determining treatment options.
  • Alternative therapies: In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend other treatments that pose fewer risks.

Long-Term Treatment Considerations

Minimizing Long-Term Use

Both Ativan and Suboxone have the potential for dependency, so long-term use should be carefully monitored.

Medication Duration

  • Short-term use: Ativan is typically prescribed for short periods due to the risk of dependency, while Suboxone may be used for more extended periods in opioid addiction treatment.
  • Tapering off medications: Gradual tapering can be employed to reduce reliance on these medications when necessary.

Non-Medical Approaches

Complementary Therapies

To supplement medical treatment, various non-medical approaches can be beneficial for managing anxiety and opioid addiction.

Therapeutic Options

  • Counseling and support groups: Individual or group therapy can help address the underlying causes of addiction and anxiety.
  • Mind-body practices: Techniques such as meditation, yoga, and mindfulness can promote relaxation and emotional well-being.

Personalized Medical Advice

Avoiding Self-Medication

Seeking personalized medical advice is vital, as self-medicating or adjusting dosages without professional guidance can be dangerous.

Professional Expertise

  • Qualified healthcare providers: Consult with doctors or specialists experienced in treating anxiety disorders and opioid addiction.
  • Treatment plans based on individual needs: Personalized treatment ensures a higher chance of success and reduces the risk of complications.

Medical History Disclosure

Transparent Communication

Openly sharing your medical history with healthcare providers helps them make well-informed decisions about treatment options.

Providing Accurate Information

  • Past substance abuse: Disclosing previous substance abuse or addiction is crucial for determining the safest and most effective course of treatment.
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions: Individuals with co-occurring anxiety and addiction should discuss their mental health history for comprehensive care.

Seeking Support

Reaching Out for Help

Managing anxiety and opioid addiction can be challenging, and seeking support from healthcare providers, family, and friends is essential.

Building a Support Network

  • Engaging in support groups: Connecting with others facing similar challenges can provide understanding and encouragement.
  • Family involvement: Involving loved ones in the treatment process can enhance recovery outcomes.

Combining Therapy Approaches

In some cases, a combination of therapy approaches may be recommended for individuals managing anxiety and opioid addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common therapeutic approach that helps individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors. When combined with medication-assisted treatment (MAT), such as Suboxone, CBT can improve treatment outcomes and provide comprehensive support for long-term recovery.

Benefits of Integrated Treatment

Combining therapy approaches allows for a holistic approach to address both the psychological and physiological aspects of anxiety and addiction. CBT can help individuals develop coping skills and strategies to manage triggers and stressors, while Suboxone assists in reducing opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Integrated treatment offers a more well-rounded approach to recovery and enhances the likelihood of sustained success.

Integrated Treatment Components

  • Individual therapy: One-on-one counseling sessions with a trained therapist allow for personalized treatment plans tailored to the individual’s needs.
  • Group therapy: Participating in group therapy provides peer support and fosters a sense of community among individuals on a similar recovery journey.
  • Medication management: Healthcare providers monitor the administration of Suboxone and adjust dosages as necessary for optimal results.

Understanding Polydrug Use

Polydrug use refers to the simultaneous use of multiple drugs, including combining prescription medications like Ativan and Suboxone with other substances. Engaging in polydrug use can significantly increase the risk of adverse effects, drug interactions, and potentially fatal outcomes. It is essential to be transparent with healthcare providers about all substances being consumed to ensure appropriate treatment and minimize potential dangers.

Recognizing the Dangers

Polydrug use can lead to unpredictable reactions and exacerbate the side effects of each drug. Combining central nervous system depressants, such as Ativan and Suboxone, with other substances like alcohol or opioids can result in severe respiratory depression, coma, or even death.

Seeking Professional Help

  • Substance abuse treatment programs: Specialized treatment programs can provide comprehensive care for individuals struggling with polydrug use and addiction.
  • Medical detoxification: A supervised medical detox can safely manage withdrawal symptoms and prepare individuals for ongoing treatment.

Long-Term Recovery Strategies

Achieving and maintaining long-term recovery requires a combination of medical treatment, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Individuals should work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive recovery plan that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of their journey.

Building a Supportive Environment

A strong support network can significantly impact long-term recovery success. Involving family and friends in the recovery process can provide encouragement, understanding, and motivation during challenging times.

Life Skills Development

  • Stress management: Learning healthy ways to cope with stress can prevent relapse and promote overall well-being.
  • Healthy habits: Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and getting adequate sleep contribute to a more stable recovery journey.

Taking Steps Towards Recovery

Starting the journey towards recovery can be daunting, but taking the first steps is crucial for positive change. Seeking professional help, talking to a doctor, or contacting a substance abuse helpline are essential initial actions.

Choosing a Treatment Plan

Every individual’s path to recovery is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Working with healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan ensures that specific needs and challenges are addressed.

Maintaining Hope and Resilience

  • Set achievable goals: Celebrate small victories and milestones on the road to recovery to stay motivated.
  • Be patient and persistent: Recovery is a process that may involve ups and downs, but resilience and determination can lead to long-lasting change.


In summary, the combination of Ativan and Suboxone can be risky and is generally not recommended due to the potential for serious interactions and adverse effects. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before making any changes to medication regimens and to disclose all relevant medical history and current medications. Combining therapy approaches and seeking alternative treatments can provide comprehensive support for managing anxiety and opioid addiction. Long-term recovery requires commitment, support, and personalized strategies to promote physical and emotional well-being.

FAQs about Taking Ativan with Suboxone

1. Can I take Ativan and Suboxone together if my doctor prescribed both medications?

Yes, it is possible to take Ativan and Suboxone together if your doctor has prescribed both medications for specific conditions. However, it is essential to follow your doctor’s instructions closely and report any concerning side effects promptly.

2. Are there any risks of combining Ativan and Suboxone for individuals with a history of substance abuse?

Individuals with a history of substance abuse should be cautious when combining Ativan and Suboxone. Both medications can be habit-forming, and their combination may increase the risk of dependency. Close monitoring by healthcare professionals is crucial in such cases.

3. Can I drive or operate heavy machinery while taking Ativan and Suboxone together?

No, it is not recommended to drive or operate heavy machinery when taking Ativan and Suboxone together. Both medications can cause drowsiness and impair cognitive function, which can be dangerous while performing tasks that require alertness.

4. How long should I wait between taking Ativan and Suboxone to avoid potential interactions?

The time interval between taking Ativan and Suboxone may vary depending on individual factors and dosages. It is best to consult your doctor to determine the appropriate timing and ensure the medications do not interact negatively.

5. Can combining Ativan and Suboxone lead to respiratory problems or breathing difficulties?

Yes, combining Ativan and Suboxone can increase the risk of respiratory depression, especially when taken in higher-than-prescribed doses or used with other central nervous system depressants. This can result in breathing difficulties, and immediate medical attention should be sought if any breathing problems occur.

6. Can Ativan be used to manage anxiety caused by Suboxone treatment?

Ativan may be prescribed to manage anxiety caused by Suboxone treatment; however, this should be under the guidance of a healthcare professional. It is crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions and only use Ativan as prescribed.

7. Are there any natural supplements or remedies that can help reduce anxiety while on Suboxone?

Some natural supplements and remedies, such as certain herbs and relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, may help reduce anxiety. However, it is essential to discuss the use of any supplements or alternative therapies with your healthcare provider to avoid potential interactions with Suboxone.

8. Can Ativan and Suboxone be used together during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Both Ativan and Suboxone may pose risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using these medications if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding to assess potential risks and benefits.

9. Can I suddenly stop taking Ativan or Suboxone if I experience side effects?

No, sudden discontinuation of Ativan or Suboxone can lead to withdrawal symptoms and other adverse effects. It is essential to discuss any side effects with your doctor, who can develop a proper plan for tapering off the medications safely, if necessary.

10. Can Ativan and Suboxone be safely used in older adults or individuals with underlying medical conditions?

Ativan and Suboxone can pose specific risks in older adults or individuals with certain underlying medical conditions. Proper medical evaluation and individualized treatment plans are essential in such cases to ensure safe and effective use of these medications. It is crucial to work closely with healthcare professionals to monitor any potential interactions or adverse effects.