Chronic fatigue, the constant feeling of weakness or exhaustion (in varying degrees) didn’t used to be so prominent. However, today it accounts for more than 10 million visits to family doctors every year.

While there are many causes for it, many people don’t understand they might need to look outside of a diagnosis like anemia, multiple sclerosis, or Epstein barr; it could actually be the fault of a medication you are taking.

1. Blood pressure medications
Blood pressure medications are supposed to help lower the pressure inside blood vessels so the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout the body.

Top-selling blood-pressure meds include:

  • Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), an ACE inhibitor
  • Amlodipine (Norvasc), a calcium channel blocker
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ and various other brand names), a thiazide diuretic
  • Furosemide (Lasix), a loop diuretic
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), a beta blocker.

These meds may slow down the pumping action of the heart and depress the entire central nervous system, they may also deplete electrolytes that your body needs. Any of these things might lead to exhaustion.

2. Statins and fibrates
Statins and fibrates are used to treat high cholesterol and the top-selling statins are Atorvastatin (Lipitor), Rosuvastatin (Crestor), Simvastatin (Zocor) and the top-selling fibrate is Fenofibrate (Tricor).

Statins stop the production of satellite cells that give rise to muscle tissue which stops muscle growth. It has also been suggested that statins interfere with the production of energy in cells in the same way that they interfere with the production of cholesterol.

3. Proton pump inhibitors
Why they’re prescribed: Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other similar disorders. More than 20 million Americans take prescription PPIs, including esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec) and pantoprazole (Protonix), some of which are available over the counter.

How they can cause fatigue: Patients who take PPIs for as little as three months are at risk of low blood levels of magnesium, which can cause loss of appetite, fatigue, and weakness, among other symptoms.

4. Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines, more commonly known as tranquilizers, are used to treat anxiety disorders, agitation, muscle spasms, and to prevent seizures. As they sometimes have a sedative/hypnotic effect, they are often prescribed for insomnia and the anxiety component of depression.

The most common are: Alprazolam (Xanax), Clonazepam (Klonopin), Diazepam (Valium), Lorazepam (Ativan) and Temazepam (Restoril).

From the article:

“Benzodiazepines can cause sedation and fatigue by dampening activity in key parts of the central nervous system (CNS). People who take a benzodiazepine for more than two or three weeks may develop a tolerance to the drug, and over time may need to take increasing doses to achieve the same effect, only worsening their fatigue. Long-term effects also may include muscle weakness.

These drugs could be the cause of that tired feeling. Read below to learn about the major classes of drugs that can cause chronic fatigue. If you suspect that your symptoms might be linked to a medication you’re taking, talk to your doctor or health care provider right away. It’s important that you do not discontinue them on your own.”

5. Antihistamines
Antihistamines are used to relieve or prevent the symptoms of allergic disorders or the common cold. Some are even used to prevent motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, and to treat anxiety or insomnia.

Antihistamines are depressants and most of these drugs list tiredness and drowsiness as potential side effects.

6. Antidepressants
Though antidepressants are normally used to treat depression, they are also very often prescribed for anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain, smoking cessation, and severe menstrual cramps (this is indicative of hormone issues so the underlying issue should be taken care of).

From the article, “There are many different kinds of antidepressants, including tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), dopamine antagonists and lithium, among others. Commonly prescribed antidepressants include duloxetine (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor).”

Fatigue is a very common side effect of antidepressant medications and everyone talks about it but doctors don’t seem to be able to do much about it but change your meds. Some make people tired, others don’t, and still other people will bounce from brand to brand with no relief.

7. Antipsychotics
Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other serious psychiatric conditions. Of those prescribed popular ones include: Aripiprazole (Abilify), Haloperidol (Haldol), Olanzapine (Zyprexa), Risperidone (Risperdal) and Ziprasidone (Geodon).

Antipsychotics dull the activity of the central nervous system; they can also lower dopamine levels which can lead to sleepiness and feelings of drowsiness.

8. Antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to treat conditions caused by bacteria…like ear infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, etc. They are also given before surgery to prevent “infections that can complicate surgery or other medical procedures,” according to the article.

And because we have OVER prescribed and OVER used them, we are seeing a rise of “superbugs”.

The most commonly prescribed antibiotics are:

  • Amoxicillin (various brand names)
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and
  • Levofloxacin (Levaquin)

While it has been known for some time that feelings of tiredness and or extreme fatigue are potential side effects, researchers are still not clear exactly why.

9. Diuretics
Diuretics (some people use these to lose water “weight”) are used to treat high blood pressure, glaucoma, and edema. Because they can interfere with your body’s balance of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride) you might feel extreme fatigue, muscle weakness and achy joints, bones and muscles.

Source: Tri County Sentry