Medicines That Can Cause Anxiety

Many medicines can cause anxiety or make anxiety worse. Discuss your medicines with your doctor if you think that a medicine may be adding to your anxiety.

Prescription medicines that may cause anxiety include:

  • Asthma medicines, such as albuterol, salmeterol, and theophylline.
  • Blood pressure medicines, such as methyldopa.
  • Hormones, such as oral contraceptives.
  • Medicines that contain amphetamines, such as Benzedrine, Dexedrine, and Ritalin.
  • Steroids, such as cortisone, dexamethasone, and prednisone.
  • Thyroid medicines.
  • Other medicines, such as phenytoin, levodopa, quinidine, and some antidepressants.

Nonprescription medicines that may cause anxiety include:

  • Medicines that contain caffeine, such as Anacin, Empirin, Excedrin, No-Doz, and cough medicines.
  • Decongestants, such as phenylephrine, including Sudafed PE.
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine, crack, or speed (amphetamines).
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised June 13, 2013

Last Revised: June 13, 2013

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