For Level2Trauma; Chris-FNP

  1. Help - I need your expertise. Level2Trauma, you stated you used to work in adult psych - and Chris being a FNP you may or may not have prescribed this - but if you look at the post regarding a nurse using drugs while at work - someone is concerned because a nurse she works with has a Rx for ativan and wonders what she should do about it.

    I think nothing should be "done about it" because it is personal business - unless she is compromising patient care, and even then it may or may not have anything to do with her Rx for ativan.

    I guess I was alarmed at people's responses to this - alot of them are putting ativan on the same plane as heroin, and associating ativan with violent behavior.

    I know several people who have taken ativan for panic attacks, or anxiety after a traumatic experience (PTSD and the like), or for post alcohol treatment.

    Please offer me your expertise with this drug - but I was under the impression that ativan isn't necessarily prescribed for antisocial behavior.....
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    About Q.

    Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 7,470; Likes: 56
    Patient Education
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in LDRP; Education


  3. by   Level2Trauma
    Ativan is classified as an anti-anxiolytic. It is prescribed to tx anxiety disorders or to tx nerve problems. I am quite sure that there are plenty of nurses practicing who have rx meds such as valium, prozac, vistaril etc. etc. Ativan is certainly not in the same category as heroin. In the acute psych unit we prescribe ativan as a prn for acute episodes of hostile behavior but it is commonly given with haldol. The combination of the two have a great affect on decreasing the patients anger and anxiety. However, unless this nurse is compromising pt care, then it is of no concern to others. The worse the nursing shortage gets, the more nurses you will probably see taking rx antianxiolytics (LOL).
  4. by   Chris-FNP

    Again, who has the right to judge anybody? Who compared Ativan to heroin? This is foolish. There are plenty of nurses and doctors that take drugs like Ativan, Buspar, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, etc. for a variety of reasons. Benzodiazepines and SSRIs are drugs for anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, and other conditions as well. This is nobody's business except for the person who was prescribed the drug. ITS PERSONAL!!! Unless that person's clinical work is suffering a great deal, then others should mind their own business.

    Personally, I have OCD and have taken Paxil in the past. Someone (probably with only a few brain cells) may have seen my Rx bottle in the past and assumed I had severe depression or something...not mild OCD. Its things like this that just annoy me. Other people have no right to judge other people...especially when they most likely don't know anything about the person's personal life.

    Ativan is a mild Benzodiazepine that is usually given to people for mild to moderate anxiety. I usually prescribe 0.5-1mg PO BID-TID, depending on how anxious the person is. A little generalized anxiety in someone's life is not that uncommon and it is certainly not something that others should concern themselves with. If people had a little intelligence, maybe they would realize that this person may be going through a tough time right now.

  5. by   Q.
    Thanks for your replies - and Chris, thanks for sharing something so personal.

    My mom developed cancer in 1984, and during/after treatment, was a nervous wreck obviously, and was Rx valium. She's had this since 1984, and she would score a 5mg pill and take it occasionally for anxiety. Worked well.

    But lately, within the past 2-3 months, started suffering an INCREASE in anxiety, possibly now panic attacks, that are nearly debilitating. Her PA gave her ativan (not sure of the dosage) and it works well, but she seems to be taking it more often than she ever took the valium. It's just strange.

    Anyway, that's why I thought this ativan business was alarming. My mom takes it and functions just fine. Yes I know some pyschos who present in the ER get it, but obviously, not everyone is pyschotic.

    Thanks again. The nurse in that post I guess severely screwed up patient care, but like I said, it could have absolutely NOTHING to do with her medical problem.