An antianxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family taken to relieve anxiety, distress, and agItation. Lorazepam also may help relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as muscle spasms, muscle cramps, rigidity, and dys-tonia (stiffness and distortions of the muscles). It also is often taken as a sleep medication. In people who take lorazepam, commonly prescribed as the brand name product Ativan, for more than six months a resistance to its effects may develop; in that case another benzodiazepine medication is sometimes effective. All benzodiazepines, including lorazepam, have a risk from mild to moderate of addiction. In general, the longer the length of action of a benzodiazepine, the less the risk of addiction. Lorazepam has a moderately long length of action and a lower risk of addiction than triazo-lam (Halcion) and alprazolam (Xanax), a similar addiction potential to temazepam (Restoril) and diazepam (Valium), and more addiction potential than clonazepam (Klonopin). Although the benzo-diazepines generally all have the same actions and potential side effects, people respond differently to individual drugs within this pharmacological family. The most common side effect of lorazepam is drowsiness, which typically ends after the medication has been taken for two to three weeks.