The discovery of antibiotics in the 1930s fundamentally transformed the field of medicine. Now nearly a century later, it is one of the most widely prescribed treatments for bacterial infections. Like most medications, they are not without side effects. Can antibiotics make you tired though? Here is everything you need to know about the different kinds of antibiotics, typical side effects, and antibiotics fatigue in general.
Different Types of Antibiotics Explained
There is more than one kind of antibiotic, and each one is used to treat different infections. In general, there are two groups of antibiotics:
- Broad-spectrum antibiotics: Fight a wide range of bacteria and are helpful when the bacteria causing the infection is unknown.
- Narrow-spectrum antibiotics: Fight only specific kinds of bacteria and are helpful when the exact bacteria causing the infections is identified.
Antibiotics either kill the bacteria by weakening the cell walls of the bacteria until they burst, preventing bacteria from repairing or by stopping the bacteria’s reproduction process.
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Can Antibiotics Make You Tired?
Although tiredness is not a common side effect of most antibiotics, it’s not unusual to experience antibiotics fatigue, and some kinds of antibiotics are more likely to cause fatigue than others, including:
- Amoxicillin (Amoxil)
- Azithromycin (Zithromax, Z-Pak)
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro, Proquin)
What Should You Do If Antibiotics Make You Tired?
If your antibiotics are making you feel tired, there are a few things you should do.
- Adjust to the medication: Firstly, give your body a chance to adjust to the medication – most medication takes a few days to get into the system, and side effects usually clear up by then.
- Get plenty of rest: Your body is fighting an infection; listen to your body and sleep if you feel like you need to.
- Avoid alcohol: Don’t drink alcohol or take any other substances that may cause fatigue.
- Avoid driving: Or any other activities that require alertness.
- Take your antibiotic at night: If possible, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can take the antibiotic at night.
If the fatigue is making it hard to function, then you should talk to your doctor about another antibiotic. Don’t stop taking an antibiotic without speaking to your doctor first because it may cause your infection to come back. Stopping your course before it is finished is a big contributing factor to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
We recently spoke to Dr. Wapnah about virtual doctor’s appointments and prescriptions that you might find helpful in this situation.
Other Common Side Effects of Antibiotics
Although each kind of antibiotic may have slightly different side effects, the most common ones are:
- Nausea, vomiting, an upset stomach, diarrhea, and stomach cramps (the most common side effects
- Light sensitivity
- Fungal infections
- Tooth discoloration
- Allergic reaction
Why Do Antibiotics Cause Side Effects?
All medication comes with potential side effects, and there are various aspects that can trigger them. It could be your body’s immune system overreacting to the medication, which in turn causes an allergic reaction. Some medications have a chemical structure that could be impact your body in unpredictable ways.
Another reason antibiotics may cause side effects is their bacteria-fighting properties. The human body is full of good bacteria that benefits and aids your body, especially in the digestive tract – which is why stomach problems are such a common side effect of antibiotics. Taking probiotics while you are taking antibiotics may lessen the side effects of losing beneficial bacteria.
It’s important always to follow your doctor’s advice when taking antibiotics. Since some antibiotics must be taken with food, and other antibiotics must be taken on an empty stomach.
Other Medications That Can Make You Feel Tired
Many medications can cause tiredness. The most common culprits include:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Blood pressure medications
- Cough medicine
- Heart drugs
- Pain drugs
- Radiation therapy
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Possible Interactions With Antibiotics
Antibiotics can interact with other medications. These could be seriously harmful, so you should always inform your doctor about all the medication you are taking, even if they are just over-the-counter medicine. Some medication is more likely to have interactions with antibiotics:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners
- Muscle relaxers
- Birth control
If you have an infection and need antibiotics, you should book a consultation with a medical professional. Ensure you communicate all your symptoms, medical history, and any medication you are currently taking. AirDoctor allows you to easily book a consultation with a doctor near you and have an in-person or video consultation.
To make an appointment with a licensed doctor, simply download the AirDoctor app here.