GREAT BARRINGTON — “I was repeatedly told that because I took it as prescribed that I couldn’t be dependent and that Ativan was harmless.”
Geraldine Burns, of Boston, was prescribed Ativan — one of several pills classified as benzodiazepines or “benzos” (including Xanax, Valium and Klonopin) often prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia — after the birth of her second child in 1988. She had complained of a “heavy feeling” and was given Ativan in the hospital. She was referred to a psychiatrist who prescribed Ativan to be taken regularly. She began to experience anxiety, agoraphobia and panic attacks — all which she had never had before.