Did you know that some medications can make you feel tired?

September 26, 2018

Sleeping pills are not the only drugs on the market that give you sleepiness. Taking other types of medication, including the most common ones, can also cause intense and widespread fatigue. Fatigue is in fact one of the most common side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications. We discussed this topic with Dr. Maria Fazio, head of the Humanitas pharmacy.


Which drugs cause fatigue?

When drugs cause fatigue it is often because they have a direct effect on neurotransmitters. Here is the list of the most common drugs causing this symptom:


Allergic and antihistamine drugs, containing active ingredients including diphenhydramine, bromfeniramine, hydroxyzine and meclizine. It is not by chance that some of these antihistamines are also in sleeping pills.


Antidepressants. Active ingredients that can cause fatigue include amitriptyline, doxepin, imipramine and trimipramine.


Drugs to keep anxiety at bay called Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam and lorazepam can cause drowsiness or weakness for a few hours but also for several days, depending on the dose taken.


Blood pressure medications that slow down heartbeats. Beta-blockers containing atenolol, metoprolol tartrate, metoprolol succinate and propranolol hydrochloride.


The drugs used to treat cancer. The elimination of cancer cells brings with it the inevitable damage to healthy cells. The body must therefore use a lot more energy to repair them.


Medications that control nausea, prevent you from vomiting or treat diarrhea can also make you sleep.


Most muscle relaxants do not directly affect the muscles, but rather the nerves of the brain and spine to relax the muscles. That’s why one of the side effects is sleepiness.


Pain medications including opioids. Opioids act like the chemicals the body produces to control pain, namely endorphins. The most common are morphine, oxymorphone, oxycodone, fentanyl, oxycodone and aspirin, oxycodone and acetaminophen, hydrocodone and acetaminophen.


Do not forget to consult your doctor

Your doctor can help you manage the fatigue caused by your prescription medications. For example, by changing the dose or time you take it, or by directly replacing medication.

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