We’ve all seen the commercials that list a medication’s potential side effects and think, “Wow — those sound worse than the ailment itself.” Because of this, we wanted to investigate if antibiotics can make you tired.
Common antibiotic side effects
Antibiotics are commonly used to help patients fight off infections. There are many available antibiotics, each with its own potential side effects. Not every disease or infection can be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are traditionally used to fight infections caused by bacteria, not viruses.
Like with any medication, potential side effects can vary based on various factors and affect each person differently.
Generally, some side effects of antibiotics include:
- Upset stomach
- Fever (which is common with most medication, not just antibiotics)
Can antibiotics make you tired?
Most commonly prescribed antibiotics should not cause fatigue or drowsiness in most people who take them. If you do feel more tired, fatigued or lethargic, it could just be a side effect of being sick. Your body is working hard to fight off a bacterial infection and needs rest to do its job effectively.
Some common illnesses that antibiotics may be prescribed to treat include:
- Ear infections
- Bacterial sinusitis (sinus infections)
- Skin infections
- Strep throat
- Urinary tract infections
What should I do if antibiotics make me tired?
If you’re overly tired or sleepy after starting a course of antibiotics, you should talk to your doctor about switching your medication. Plenty of antibiotics are on the market and can help you determine which one might work better for you.
While experiencing drowsiness or fatigue, you should also consider avoiding:
- Consuming alcohol
- Driving or operating heavy machinery
- Additional medication or supplements that can cause drowsiness
Frequently Asked Questions About Antibiotics
What other medications can make you tired?
Other common medications which can cause fatigue as a side effect:
- Antihistamines, prescription or over-the-counter medications used to treat allergies and hives
- Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication
- Blood pressure medication
- Seizure and migraine medication
- Narcotics and pain management medication
Are antibiotics safe?
Generally, yes. Antibiotics are incredibly efficient at helping fight off diseases. Like any medication or medical procedure, taking risks and benefits are associated with taking them.
While fatigue, drowsiness and sleepiness aren’t widespread effects of antibiotics, some can cause more severe side effects. There’s also a chance your antibiotic will interfere with your other medication.
Side effects of antibiotics are the most common cause of emergency department visits for children under 18 years of age.
Can you become immune to antibiotics?
You can become resistant to antibiotics. This can happen when bacteria, germs and fungi adapt and the drugs designed to stop them become ineffective. When this happens, the bacteria and germs are free to continue to grow and make you sick.
The most common cause of antibiotic resistance is taking antibiotics when you don’t need them. Antibiotics work with your natural immune system to stop the bacteria from growing and multiplying. Taking them when you don’t need them can allow bacteria to adapt and become resistant to the medication.
So, what should I do if antibiotics make me tired?
While being sick will almost certainly make you more sluggish, antibiotics will typically not have the same effect. If you experience any rare side effects, be sure to speak with your doctor to ensure that they are normal. At worst, you might need to switch antibiotics.