“Every drug has side effects and they affect a cohort of the population in different ways. Many drugs have many side effects and they will have a different effect on different people,” says Andrew Lane an expert on pharmaceuticals. “Some people will exhibit some side effects from some medications.”
He urges anyone taking a prescribed drug to read the medical insert in the box and to read up on the drug. “You will never get all the side effects listed. If you look at the patient information leaflet you will see that one in so many thousands might get one side effect and one in a million might get another.”
Andrew gives the example of the current Covid 19 vaccine where some people get lethargy and feel tired as an initial side effect and some people get no side effects at all. “In the case of any healthcare intervention – everybody’s different.”
He says certain drug groups tend to have side effects of sleepiness and tiredness. “It’s the antidepressants that tend to cause sleepiness and tiredness and the antihistamines. Also anti-emetics which stop nausea and vomiting. If you’re on medication for seizures, depression or high blood pressure you can feel tired and feeling sleepy throughout the day can compromise quality of life.”
So what to do? Here are some of Andrew’s helpful tips:
01. Cut out alcohol which can accentuate drowsiness
02. Have a word with your GP to adjust the dose of your medication.
03. Have healthy sleep habits – make sure you get a good night’s rest. Sleep at the right time.
04. You should not be taking antihistamines as well as medication for depression.
05. Take your medications last thing at night before you go to bed. This might help you get off to sleep. Obviously run this past your doctor first.
06. If you are fitter then this can combat side effects and help you cope better.
07. Look at your diet. You might want to cut out salt or cut down on carbohydrates like bread.
Andrew underlines that you can also check some of these things with your local pharmacist – the healthcare expert on every high street.