Antibiotics are the most important agents for fighting against bacterial infections. In fact, it is almost a certainty that at some point your doctor will prescribe you an antibiotic to help treat a bacterial infection.
However, while antibiotics are powerful tools to rid your body of infection, they can come with side effects that are critical to be aware of. Furthermore, these side effects can be tricky to decipher because sometimes they appear similar to the symptoms of the infection they are intended to treat.
For example, in rare circumstances, fatigue, lethargy, or extreme tiredness can be caused by antibiotic use. Let’s take a look at the most likely antibiotics that make you tired and how to combat fatigue from antibiotics.
- Essential Role of Antibiotics: Antibiotics are key in treating bacterial infections but can have side effects, including fatigue.
- Common vs. Uncommon Side Effects: While fatigue is a rarer side effect, more common ones include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections.
- Specific Antibiotics Causing Fatigue: Antibiotics like amoxicillin, azithromycin, and ciprofloxacin may cause fatigue.
- Managing Fatigue: To alleviate fatigue from antibiotics, consider hydration, rest, and discussing medication timing or alternatives with your doctor.
- Awareness and Communication: Understanding potential side effects and communicating with healthcare providers is crucial for effective management of antibiotic use.
Do Antibiotics Make You Tired?
Although it is not common, some antibiotics can really make you tired, or cause fatigue. For example, fatigue can occur when taking certain antibiotics like amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin.
Fluoroquinolones, of which ciprofloxacin is a variant, can lead to fatigue related to liver injury according to a 2020 study.
Ciprofloxacin like other fluoroquinolones is associated with a low rate (1% to 3%) of serum enzyme elevations during therapy. These abnormalities are generally mild, asymptomatic and transient, resolving even with continuation of therapy. More importantly, ciprofloxacin has been linked to rare, but occasionally severe and even fatal cases of acute liver injury. The time to onset is typically short (2 days to 2 weeks) and the presentation is often abrupt with nausea, fatigue and abdominal pain, followed by dark urine and jaundice
However, more common side effects of antibiotics include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections. Before you know how a medication will affect you, avoid activities where you need to be alert, such as driving or operating machinery, as well as alcohol and other drugs unless advised to take them by your doctor.
In addition, be sure to recognize that there are other reasons you may feel tired when taking antibiotics. For instance, if you are taking antibiotics in combination with other medications, such as antihistamines or cough medicine, you may feel more tired than usual.
Additionally, tiredness may be a symptom of the infection you’re battling. For instance, fatigue is a common side effect of pneumonia and could also result from infections that make it difficult to sleep.
Why do they make you tired?
Antibiotics work in one of two ways, either by killing the bacteria that are causing the infection or by preventing it from multiplying. When antibiotics kill bacteria in your body, they often take the good with the bad. This can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut and cause uncomfortable digestive side effects. Additionally, it can lead to malabsorption of nutrients, which can cause chronic fatigue.
Antibiotics that Can Cause Fatigue
Fatigue or unusual tiredness is a potential side effect of a few types of antibiotics. These antibiotics are used to treat a wide variety of infections; They include:
*If you have an infection that your doctor prescribes antibiotics for, it’s important to follow the recommended treatment protocol in order to rid yourself of the infection. That said, always bring up any questions or concerns about a particular medication with your doctor before taking it.
You can also ask your pharmacist questions about the antibiotics you are prescribed; pharmacists are experts in medication and can provide guidance and how to take it, what side effects are normal or not, and potential alternatives to discuss with your care provider.
How To Combat Fatigue
It is important to continue taking antibiotics for as long as prescribed to completely fight off infection and prevent it from worsening. But if you are experiencing fatigue from antibiotics, there are a few steps you can take to try and reduce its severity.
1. Try Taking Antibiotics at a Different Time
If you are experiencing fatigue from antibiotics, it may help to take them at night rather than in the morning. This may not be possible in all cases, as some antibiotics need to be taken twice daily or at specific times. So, before switching up your medication regimen, always talk to your doctor.
2. Prioritize Hydration
If you are experiencing other side effects from antibiotics or infection, such as vomiting and diarrhea, you may be dehydrated and lacking in minerals. These symptoms can lead to fatigue, so rehydrating may help restore energy. Try adding electrolytes to your water to hydrate and restore lost minerals at the same time.
3. Get Plenty of Rest
While fatigue can be debilitating, take it as a cue to rest. When battling an infection, your immune system is working in overdrive; it needs more sleep to recover. Rather than attempting to power through feelings of fatigue, embrace relaxation, take a nap, and go to bed early. You’ll be more likely to recover quickly and be less likely to experience fatigue the following day.
4. Talk to Your Doctor About Alternative Medication
Medications affect everyone differently. You may have an adverse reaction to a particular antibiotic that results in severe fatigue or an allergic reaction. If you are experiencing side effects, talk to your doctor about alternative options. In many cases, there are multiple antibiotics that can fight the same infection and switching to a different option may be the answer.
Fatigue is a rare side effect of some antibiotics, including amoxicillin, azithromycin, and ciprofloxacin. Antibiotics aren’t always necessary, but in the case that they are, the risk of not taking them will likely outweigh the side effect of fatigue. If you experience fatigue when taking antibiotics such as these, prioritize sleep and hydration to help your body recover. Additionally, discuss treatment options with your care provider, and never be afraid to bring up questions if you have them.
If you experience any serious side effects or an allergic reaction while taking antibiotics, contact your care provider right away. .
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can certain foods or drinks affect how antibiotics work and cause fatigue?
Some foods and drinks can interact with antibiotics, potentially affecting their effectiveness and leading to side effects like fatigue. For instance, dairy products can interfere with the absorption of certain antibiotics, and alcohol can exacerbate side effects.
2. Are there any natural remedies or supplements that can help reduce fatigue caused by antibiotics?
While natural remedies and supplements can sometimes help alleviate fatigue, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before using them, as they can interact with antibiotics.
3. Is it safe to exercise while experiencing fatigue from antibiotics?
Mild to moderate exercise might be beneficial, but it’s crucial to listen to your body. If fatigue is severe, it may be better to rest until the course of antibiotics is completed.
4. How long does fatigue last after finishing a course of antibiotics?
Fatigue related to antibiotic use usually resolves soon after completing the course. However, if it persists, consult a healthcare provider.
5. Can children experience fatigue from antibiotics?
Yes, children can also experience side effects, including fatigue, from antibiotics. It’s important to monitor their symptoms and consult a pediatrician if you have concerns.
6. Are there specific times of the day when taking antibiotics can minimize fatigue?
Taking antibiotics closer to bedtime might help mitigate daytime fatigue, but always follow the prescribed schedule and consult your doctor for any changes.
7. How can I tell if fatigue is from the antibiotic or the infection itself?
It can be challenging to discern, but if fatigue significantly worsens or changes after starting antibiotics, it may be related to the medication.
Antibiotics are essential in fighting bacterial infections, but they can have side effects, including fatigue. Being aware of these potential issues, staying hydrated, getting ample rest, and discussing concerns with your healthcare provider can help manage these side effects effectively.