Common Medications That Cause Fatigue

Medications have become indispensable allies in our fight against disease and discomfort, providing relief and promoting wellness for countless people.

But we must also acknowledge that these powerful tools can sometimes have unintended consequences, including the all-too-common side effect of fatigue.

As we rely more and more on medications to manage our health, understanding the complex relationship between these treatments and fatigue becomes increasingly vital.

Antidepressants and Fatigue

Antidepressants are prescribed to millions of people worldwide to help manage mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

However, some commonly prescribed antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), may contribute to feelings of tiredness and fatigue.

Blood Pressure Medications

Many individuals with high blood pressure rely on medications to keep their condition under control.

Some of these medications, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and ACE inhibitors, can cause fatigue as a side effect.


Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergy symptoms, but they can also cause drowsiness and fatigue, particularly first-generation antihistamines like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine.

To minimize fatigue, you might consider using newer, second-generation antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec), which typically cause less drowsiness.

Always consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen.


Statins are a class of medications prescribed to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. While these medications are effective in managing cholesterol, some users may experience muscle-related side effects, including muscle pain, weakness, and fatigue.

Opioid Pain Relievers

Opioid pain relievers, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine, are powerful medications used to treat severe pain. While these medications can provide relief, they can also cause side effects like drowsiness and fatigue.

Ask your doctor about alternative pain management strategies, such as non-opioid pain relievers, physical therapy, or other integrative approaches.

Anxiety Medications

Anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines and buspirone, are prescribed to help individuals manage symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders.

Benzodiazepines, including diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), can cause drowsiness and fatigue as side effects.

Buspirone, on the other hand, is less likely to cause drowsiness but may still contribute to fatigue in some individuals.

Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy, can cause a range of side effects, including fatigue.

Cancer-related fatigue may result from the treatments themselves or from the body’s response to the cancer.

Communicate with your healthcare team about the fatigue you’re experiencing, as they can help determine the cause and suggest appropriate interventions.

Seizure Medications

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), also known as anticonvulsants, are prescribed to manage seizures in individuals with epilepsy.

Some common AEDs, such as phenobarbital, carbamazepine (Tegretol), and valproic acid (Depakote), can cause fatigue as a side effect.

Managing Fatigue from Medications

If you suspect that your medication is causing fatigue, have a talk with your healthcare provider. They can help determine whether your fatigue is indeed a side effect of your medication or if it’s caused by other factors.

Your doctor may recommend strategies to help manage medication-induced fatigue, such as:

  • Adjusting your dosage.
  • Changing the time of day you take the medication.
  • Switching to an alternative medication with fewer fatigue-related side effects.
  • Incorporating lifestyle changes, such as exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management techniques, to improve your energy levels.
  • Taking supplements to address any deficiencies that may be contributing to fatigue.
  • Addressing any underlying sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, that may be exacerbating fatigue.

Do not stop or change your medication without consulting your healthcare provider first, as doing so could worsen your condition or lead to other complications.

Always work closely with your doctor to determine the best course of action for managing your fatigue while ensuring the effectiveness of your treatment.