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Can asthma medications cause anxiety?

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Anxiety can make you feel restless, nervous, and panicky even when you’re not in any danger. Sometimes that can happen if you take medications that target the same parts of your body that play a role in anxiety symptoms.

Some asthmas drugs can make mood disorders worse, such as depression and anxiety. Some bronchodilators, medicines that open up airways in your lungs, may also cause anxiety, even if you didn’t have it before. They include:

  • Albuterol. It’s common for albuterol to cause trembling or shakiness and, less commonly, racing heartbeats. All those can seem like the signs of a panic attack.
  • Salmeterol. Possible side effects include nervousness, sweating, fast heartbeat, and anxiety.
  • Theophylline. This drug has been around for decades, but fewer doctors prescribe it today.

From: What Meds Might Cause Anxiety? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Advances in Psychiatric Treatment : “Neuropsychiatric effects of caffeine.”

Cochrane Database System Review : “Phenytoin versus valproate monotherapy for partial onset seizures and generalized onset tonic-clonic seizures.”

FDA: “Medicines in my Home: Caffeine and Your Body.”

International Journal of Child Health and Human Development: “Asthma and Mood Disorders.”

Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics : “Corticosteroid-related central nervous system side effects.”

Mayo Clinic: “Anxiety,” “Migraine,” “Prednisone and other corticosteroids.”

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation: “Prescription Medications.”

Psychiatry (Edgmont) : “Real-World Data on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Medication Side Effects.”

UpToDate: “Theophylline use in asthma.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Albuterol (oral route),” “Salmeterol (Inhalation route),” “Thyroid,” “Phenytoin.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 20, 2017

SOURCES:

Advances in Psychiatric Treatment : “Neuropsychiatric effects of caffeine.”

Cochrane Database System Review : “Phenytoin versus valproate monotherapy for partial onset seizures and generalized onset tonic-clonic seizures.”

FDA: “Medicines in my Home: Caffeine and Your Body.”

International Journal of Child Health and Human Development: “Asthma and Mood Disorders.”

Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics : “Corticosteroid-related central nervous system side effects.”

Mayo Clinic: “Anxiety,” “Migraine,” “Prednisone and other corticosteroids.”

Parkinson’s Disease Foundation: “Prescription Medications.”

Psychiatry (Edgmont) : “Real-World Data on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Medication Side Effects.”

UpToDate: “Theophylline use in asthma.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Albuterol (oral route),” “Salmeterol (Inhalation route),” “Thyroid,” “Phenytoin.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 20, 2017

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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