Is Lorazepam a controlled substance?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Lorazepam as a schedule IV controlled substance. This means that Lorazepam has the potential for misuse and dependence. There are stricter rules regarding how your provider prescribes Lorazepam and how your pharmacy dispenses it. Because this medication can be habit-forming, you should only take it specifically as instructed by your provider. Please don't take more of it than you need, and never share this medication with anyone else.

What is a Controlled Substance?

The UK government tightly controls a drug or any other substance because it may be abused or cause addiction. The control applies to how the drug is made, used, handled, stored, and distributed. Controlled substances include opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids. Controlled substances with known medical use, such as morphine, Valium, and Ritalin, are available only by prescription from a licensed medical professional. Other controlled substances, such as heroin and LSD, have no known medical use and are illegal in the UK.

Understanding the Different Schedules of Controlled Substances

Controlled substances are divided into classes known as schedules. Each schedule is defined by the substance's potential for abuse, medical value, and safety standards. The drug's schedule is placed under is based on its medical use, the potential for abuse, and its safety or how easily people depend on it. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous compared to Schedules II through V substances.

Schedule I substances have the highest potential for abuse; they do not have medical applications in the UK and lack usual safety standards.

Schedule II substances may have a high potential for abuse but are considered for use in medical applications. Without proper oversight, these substances may lead to psychological or physical dependence. They differ from Schedule I drugs as they have a currently accepted medical use in the treatment or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Examples of Schedule II substances include:

  • Cocaine
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

Schedule III substances have the potential for abuse. Still, their potential is ranked lower than the previous two schedules. Misusing the drug or substance may lead to moderate or low physical or high psychological dependence. Examples of Schedule III substances include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Barbiturates
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone with aspirin or Tylenol

Schedule IV substances, such as Lorazepam, have an even lower potential for abuse but may still cause moderate or low physical or psychological dependence. Schedule IV substances have a relatively low potential for abuse than Schedule III. The substance or drug has a currently accepted medical use in the treatment. Examples of Schedule IV substances include:

  • Darvon
  • Equanil
  • Talwin
  • Valium
  • Xanax
  • Lorazepam

Schedule V substances or drugs have the lowest potential for abuse than all other substances. Some of these substances, such as cough medication, may be obtained over-the-counter. These drugs or substances have a low potential for abuse than those in Schedule IV. Therefore, they are currently accepted for medical use in treatment.

Abuse of these drugs or other substances may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence than the substances or drugs in Schedule IV. For example, schedule V drugs include cough medicines with codeine.

Why is Lorazepam Considered a Controlled Substance?

Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine most commonly prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication. Still, it may also be effective in managing seizure disorders such as epilepsy. Lorazepam is considered a schedule IV controlled substance because it has a relatively low potential for abuse compared to other substances. Still, it is highly abused and leads to physical or psychological dependence.  


Lorazepam is a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means it has a relatively low potential for abuse compared to other substances, but it is still considered habit-forming.

Controlled substances are classified into schedules depending on their medical value and potential for abuse. Lorazepam falls under Schedule IV controlled substance.