8 Medications That Make You Tired

It is reported that about 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug, and more than 50% take two of these prescription drugs. While many of those medicines might help us keep healthy, some of the most popular drugs available on the market, including the prescription as well as the OTC medications, can also cause some side effects, one of the side effect being, tiredness. If you are getting enough of sleep and still yawning all the time or feeling tired, it might be because of any of the medicine that you might be taking. Read below to know about the medications that make you tired.

8 Medications That Make You Tired

8 Medications That Make You Tired:

#1. Antidepressants:

Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed medications, especially for women. However, these medications can make you tired. Most of the modern antidepressants, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI, work by regulating serotonin, or a mood chemical found in the brain that plays an important role in our sleep. Although SSRIs tend to be less sedating than the older antidepressants like Tricyclics(Elavil), some people still feel tired and drowsy.

If you feel really tired with the antidepressants that you are taking, then to ask your doctor about replacing it with some other drug.

#2. Antihistamines:

Antihistamines are taking for seasonal allergies. However, these medications too can make you feel tired and sleepy throughout the day. They work by blocking histamine, or an itch and sneeze inducing chemical that also happens to be a neurotransmitter. Histamines provide you energy and helps your brain to function normally. When you block it, you block the allergic reaction, and also block the normal brain functioning. Thus, there is a feeling of sleepiness and tiresomeness.

It must be mentioned that all antihistamines, even the ones that are marketed as “non-drowsy”, have the potential to make you sleepy. Some antihistamines are more sedating than others. Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec are some of the antihistamines which are least sedating ones. The antihistamine that causes the most sleepiness and tiresomeness is Benadryl and a powerful prescription medication called Xyzal(used for treating severe allergies). So, in case you are taking these antihistamines, do take them before bed.

#3. Blood Pressure Medications:

Among other medications that can make you tired, are the blood pressure medications. It is reported that nearly 75 million Americans, 1 in every 3 adults, suffer from hypertension. It is often treated with beta blockers. However, some patients taking these drugs, complain that they feel like they have the flu.

Now, why is it that taking these beta blockers or blood pressure medication, cause tireness? Actually, Beta blockers inhibit the adrenaline production, or production of a hormone that causes the heart to beat rapidly. By slowing down the heart rate, they lower the force of the blood that pounds on your artery walls. However, having less adrenaline, can also reduce your energy level. This would make you feel tired.

One beta blocker, called as Inderal, is especially very fatiguing. It is noted that by lowering the dose a little, some people feel better. In case your blood pressure is not well controlled with the lower dose of beta blockers or the blood pressure medications, do ask your doctor about switching to an ACE inhibitor, which works in a different manner. These ACE inhibitors, dilate your vessels, so that blood can flow via them more efficiently and they also should not make you tired.

#4. Anti-Anxiety Medication:

Even, anti-anxiety medications can make you tired. Benzodiazepines are among the most widely prescribed medications, and all of them cause fatigue. These drugs bind to a receptor in the brain that releases GABA or a brain chemical. When GABA is released, the chemical signals the brain and the body to relax, which can provide short-term relief to some people with intense anxiety. However, it may also cause the patients to become drowsy and even cause them to fall asleep.

The least sedating of the Benzodiazepines is the Xanax. Ativan is the most sedating drug among all the anti-anxiety medications. Ativan causes so much sleepiness that doctors take it as a sleeping aid for individuals whose anxious thoughts keep them awake.

#5. Muscle Relaxants:

Most muscle relaxants do not work directly on your muscles. Rather, they work on the nerves in the brain and spine so as to make the muscle relax. The effects of these muscle relaxants, on your nervous system can make you tired. Carisoprodol (Soma) and Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) are some common muscle relaxants.

#6. Gut Medications:

It must be noted that medications used to control nausea, treat diarrhea and keep you from throwing up, can also make you sleepy and feel tired.

#7. Opioids Pain Medications:

Opioids act like the Endorphins or the chemicals that our body makes to control pain. Morphine, Oxycodone (OxyContin, OxyIR), Oxymorphone (Opana, Opana ER), Oxycodone and Aspirin( Percodan), Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (Percocet and Roxicet), Fentanyl (Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic) and Hydrocone and Acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin), are some of the common Opioid pain medications.

#8. Seizure Or Epilepsy Medications:

Among other medications that can make you tired, are the seizure or epilepsy medications. These medications are also called as Anticonvulsants and can work on your brain cells or the chemicals they use to send messages. Some of these medications are similar ones that are used to treat anxiety, such as the Benzodiazepines. Other common seizure medications include Carbamazepine, Phenobarbital, Topiramate, Phenytoin and Valproic acid.

How Fight The Tiresomeness Caused Due To Medications?

You need to know some ways to fight the side effect of tiresomeness caused due to medications. In case you are taking medications that make you tired, you can get an energy boost by performing some exercise like some stretches or a quick walk, taking deep breaths and drinking coffee or tea.

In case you are taking an OTC medication, then ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are “Non-drowsy” versions of the medications, that you can use instead. Your doctor can help you handle any fatigue that you might be feeling from prescription medications, by changing your medications, changing the dose that you take, by prescribing a medication that help you feel awake and alert and by telling you the time that you need to take the medications, like in the evening or before sleep.


Though there are medications that can make you tired, you should not stop your medications or change the dose without consulting your doctor. It is also essential to note that you should not take any medications that are used to keep you stay awake, unless your doctor permits you.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 30, 2019

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