Medications that can cause Anxiety – Dr Wendy Davis ND

Medications that can cause Anxiety

We’ve all heard about how some medications can treat a problem, only to cause another.  Sadly, there are a number of medications that while treating various health concerns can lead to increased anxiety and depression.

If you happen to suffer from any mood disorders, and take other medications, it is a good idea to check that medications are not the cause.

Medications With Caffeine

Some headache and migraine medicines include caffeine. It’s a drug that stimulates your nervous system, which can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, making you jittery, nervous, and anxious. 

If you’re prone to anxiety, caffeine can heighten your symptoms.

You might have issues if you’re taking these meds for headache or migraine:

  • Aspirin, Acetaminophen and caffeine (Excedrin)
  • Ergotamine and caffeine also called ergots, which treat migraines


These are drugs that work like some of the hormones your body makes. They treat conditions like asthma, allergies, arthritis and bronchitis. 
You may have symptoms of anxiety if you’re taking:

  • Cortisone 
  • Dexamethasone (Decadron)
  • Prednisone

ADHD Drugs

Many medications for this ADD/ADHD/AUTISM are stimulants, meaning they stimulate the brain. They also change the way nerve cells send messages. 
Both of these things can increase feelings of restlessness and anxiety, especially at high doses.
Mood changes are a common side effect of these medications:

  • Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin)

Asthma Medication

Some of these drugs can make mood disorders much worse. Some bronchodilators may cause can cause sweating, nervousness, increased heart beat and anxiety while exacerbating depression and include:

  • Albuterol (Proventil)
  • Salmeterol (Serevent Diskus) 
  • Theophylline 

Thyroid Medicine

When the thyroid doesn’t work correctly, thus reducing the production of thyroid hormone, symptoms of low energy, gain weight or poor concentration. 
But some thyroid pills, if not used properly can occasionally trigger feelings of anxiety and exacerbate depression.

  • Synthroid, L-thyroxine
  • Armour thyroid
  • Natural desiccated thyroid

Seizure Drugs

Phenytoin (Dilantin) is a medication that calms the electrical activity that happens in the brain during a seizure. Sometimes doctors also prescribe it to control irregular heartbeats. But it can cause panic attacks, agitation, and anxiety.