Fifteen million people in the U.S. abuse prescription drugs. Taking more than is prescribed, or mixing prescription medications with other drugs or alcohol is considered prescription drug abuse. Ativan is the trade name for lorazepam, a generic prescription drug, and part of the drug class called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines like Ativan are highly effective at treating a range of disorders, most notably anxiety and panic attacks. Prescription drugs like Ativan are tranquilizers or sedatives, which bind to GABA receptors in the brain. The medication has a calming effect on patients that does not cause serious cardiovascular or respiratory system impairment.