Drugs That Can Disrupt Sleep?>

Drugs That Can Disrupt Sleep

by Stephanie Watson  

A variety of factors can cause insomnia, including many medications prescribed to manage conditions like depression, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. In a review of studies published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings in January 2017, researchers identified 19 prescription drugs that interfere with sleep. Many of these drugs more than doubled the risk for sleep difficulties.

According to the study, these classes of drugs are among the most likely to cause insomnia:

  • Certain antidepressants, notably selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclics
  • Systemic corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and glaucoma
  • COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) inhibitors used to treat Parkinson’s disease
  • Dopamine receptor agonists, used to treat Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome
  • Nicotine receptor agonists, such as varenicline (Chantix), for smoking cessation
  • Opioid receptor antagonists, used to treat drug and alcohol dependence

If you’re concerned that a drug you’re taking could be affecting your sleep, talk with your doctor. Don’t stop taking any medication on your own.

This article first appeared in the August 2019 issue of UC Berkeley Health After 50.