CLEVELAND -- Sleep specialists say nightmares are not a common side effect of prescription medications, but users are reporting terrifying dreams while taking dozens of drugs.
Dr. Kingman P. Strohl, Professor of Medicine at Case Medical Center and a Sleep Medicine specialist at University Hospitals, examines patients who experience reaccuring nightmares.
"These visions that you see are actually part of your brain process that awakens you out of sleep and confuses you by giving you all these vivid dreams," Dr. Strohl explains.
To fight the bad dreams, Dr. Strohl says patients can try different options:
- Lowering the medication dosage
- Switching to a different class of medication
- Quitting a medication all together
- Assessing sleep paterns and behavior
Dr. Strohl says some of the most common types of prescriptions where he sees nightmares as a side effect include sedatives, sleeping pills, pain relievers and cardiac medications.
There are dozens of prescription medications on the market where nightmares have been reported, including:
- ADHD drugs: Ritalin, Vyvanse, Adderall
- AIDS drugs: Sustiva
- Antianxiety drugs: Cymbalta, EffexorT
- Antibiotics: Cipro
- Antidepressants: Tricyclics (Elavil, Tofranil, Remeron); SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa);
- Non-tricyclics (Wellbutrin); MAOI inhibitors (Nardil)
- Antiseizure drugs: Phenobarbital, Klonopin, Valpax
- Dementia drugs: Aricept, Risperdal, Exelon
- Heart medications: Beta blockers (Tenormin, Nadolol); also Digoxin, Coumadin
- High blood pressure drugs: ACE-inhibitors (Vasotec); calciumchannel blockers (Plendil, Sular, Covera); also: Kapvay, Nexiclon, Cozaar
- Pain relievers: Naproxen, Ketamine, morphine
- Parkinson's disease drugs: Symadine, Symmetrel, Requip
- Schizophrenia drugs: Clozapine, Risperdal, Zyprexa
- Sleep Aids: Restoril, Halcion, Ambien, Lunesta
- Smoking-cessation drugs: Chantix, nicotine patches, Zyban
- Statins: Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor
Source: Drug labels; The Consultant Pharmacist, June, 2011.
Always consult a doctor before making changes to a medication routine.