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Medications That Cause Tiredness


If you are tired all the time and have no idea why, check your medicine cabinet. There are many medications that cause tiredness.

Not taking any prescription drugs? Then consider how often you take over-the-counter medications that have tiredness as a side effect.

You probably take these remedies without a second thought, thinking that if they don’t require a prescription, it can’t hurt to use them.

But the truth is that even over-the-counter medications have side effects, and it’s quite possible that you’re taking one that is making you tired.

Drugs That Steal Nutrients

There are many prescription and non-prescription medications that cause tiredness because they deprive your body of certain nutrients, either by preventing you from absorbing them or by interfering with their production.

For example, many painkillers inhibit enzymes in the body that help create an important B-vitamin called folate. Folate and other B-complex vitamins are needed for energy and the production of the feel-good chemical serotonin.

If you take aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen on a regular basis and feel tired all the time, it may be that these painkillers are to blame.

If you suspect that this may be the case, try taking a folate supplement or increasing your intake of foods rich in folate (also known as folic acid).

Examples of folate-rich foods are leafy greens (escarole, spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.), fortified cereals (look for 100% folate or folic acid on the label), lentils and beans.

Birth control pills are another possible source of vitamin B depletion. The estrogen in birth control pills is believed to cause this depletion, particularly of B-12 and B-6, which are both involved in mood and energy.

If you take birth control pills, also be sure to eat enough foods that are rich in B-vitamins. Again, leafy greens top the list.

Allergies, Allergy Medications and Fatigue

If you suffer from allergies, you probably feel tired when you are exposed to whatever you are allergic to.

But if you take certain medications to control your allergies, it may be that the “cure” is just as bad as the allergy itself. Many allergy remedies, especially over-the-counter antihistamines, cause drowsiness.

If you take allergy medications, look for an ingredient called diphenhydramine that is often found in these products.

Diphenhydramine works by binding to histamine receptors, which is a fancy way of saying that they prevent histamines from doing what they do – causing allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes and itching.

However, diphenhydramine also binds to receptors for a substance called acetylcholine. When this happens, there is excess acetylcholine, which has a sedative effect, in your system. As a result, taking medications that contain diphenhydramine often causes tiredness.

Other Prescription Medications That Cause Tiredness

Blood pressure medications, anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants are among the more commonly prescribed prescription medications that can cause tiredness. If you take any of these and feel tired, talk to your doctor about adjusting the dose.

Sometimes, that’s all it takes to stop the fatigue that goes with taking these drugs. It’s also possible that your body will adjust to the medication over time and you will stop feeling tired after awhile even if you keep taking the same dose.

A third possibility is that you will need to switch to a different medication for the condition.

Other Ways to Fight Medication-Related Tiredness

If you take a medication that causes tiredness and adjusting the dose or switching to another type of medication for the condition doesn’t help, ask yourself whether the tiredness is worse than the condition the medication is treating.

Obviously in many cases, such as high blood pressure, clinical depression and anxiety disorders, it is better to be tired than to suffer the symptoms of the condition itself.

In fact, these many of these conditions cause fatigue as well, so going off the medication entirely may not help your lack of energy.

End Tiredness ProgramInstead, you can focus on ways to increase your energy in general. You can find many suggestions for increasing energy and eliminating tiredness in the “End Tiredness Program” ebook.

This is a comprehensive resource for eliminating tiredness no matter what the cause, including tiredness that is a side effect of prescription or over-the-counter medications.


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