Many patients have concerns about whether the medications they take can cause side effects. One common worry is whether certain medicines can affect their sleep. It is well-known that usage of illicit recreational drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy can lead to hyper-excitability and impaired sleep, while usage of heroin causes drowsiness. Some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications however, may also cause drowsiness and sedation or disrupt sleep resulting in insomnia.
Sedating medications often affect neurotransmitters (the chemical ‘messengers’) in the body which regulate sleep. The following are some medications which may lead to drowsiness and/or sedation, with their common brand names included in brackets:
Conversely, certain medications have stimulatory effects which can cause sleep disturbances, leading to either difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep or both. Example of these medications (and their common brand names) include:
Medications which make a person drowsy and dizzy can make driving and operating machinery dangerous, thus these activities should be avoided if possible as the person may temporarily lose the coordination and alertness required to carry out these tasks. Meanwhile, medications which cause insomnia and lack of quality sleep at night can also cause daytime sleepiness. If any of the symptoms affect your daily routine or are particularly bothersome, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. This can often be resolved by changing to alternative medications, dosage adjustments or modifications of dosing times to ensure that you receive proper treatment, without significantly affecting your capacity to carry out errands.
Always consult your healthcare provider if you are unsure about driving or operating machinery while taking your medications. We are always ready to help you maximizing the benefits from your medications!
Introducing Doc2Us, your personal pocket doctor at your fingertips. With its name synonymous to “talk to us”, Doc2Us is a mobile application that allows you to talk to a doctor or any healthcare professionals via text chat at any time and from anywhere.