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Side effects of medications

Sometimes a medication may cause unwanted side effects along with its needed effects. If these occur, you should check with your doctor. In addition to other possible side effects, each of the medications listed below may produce paniclike symptoms. (All medications are listed by their generic names.)

Aminophylline relieves shortness of breath and wheezing in acute bronchial asthma and to reduce asthma-like symptoms in chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Side effects can include nervousness, rapid heart rate and dizziness.

Heterocyclic antidepressants are used to treat depression and, more recently, panic attacks (see our medication section regarding the use of tricyclic antidepressants within the treatment of panic). Possible side effects are dizziness and irregular or rapid heartbeat.

Antidyskinetics are used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Side effects may include dizziness, irregular heartbeat, and anxiety.

Atropine is a medication used to dilate the pupil of the eye. It can produce an unusually fast heartbeat. (A number of drugs are atropinelike in their effects. These are usually called anticholinergic medications.)

Inhaler forms of beta-Z adrenergic agents, such as isoproterenol and metaproterenol (Alupent) relieve acute bronchial asthma and bronchospasms associated with chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Side effects can include general anxiety, dizziness, rapid strong heartbeat, and shaky hands.

Cycloserine is an antibiotic medication. Side effects may include anxiety, irritability, confusion, dizziness and restlessness.

Digitalis is a medication used to improve the strength and efficiency of the heart, or to control the rate of the heartbeat. It can produce an unusually slow or uneven pulse.

Ephedrineis a medication used for lung problems. Side effects can be nervousness, restlessness, dizziness, difficulty breathing, palpitations, and rapid heartbeat.

Epinephrine is a medication used in treatment of the eyes, the lungs, and allergies. Side effects can include faintness, trembling, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, nervousness, and difficulty breathing.

Insulin helps control diabetes. Increasing the dose of insulin can occasionally trigger a hypoglycemic reaction, which includes sweating, cold clammy hands, dizziness, palpitations and trembling.

Isoniazid, an antiinfection medication, may produce rapid heartbeat and lightheadedness.

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors belong within the antidepressant family. Along with reducing symptoms of depression, physicians use them in the treatment of panic attacks (see Chapter 19). Possible side effects are dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position, and rapid or pounding heartbeat.

Nitrates are used to improve the blood flow to the heart and to relieve angina attacks. Possible side effects are dizziness, lightheadedness, and rapid heartbeat.

Prednisone is the most commonly used of the corticosteroids and is prescribed to relieve inflammation. Its side effects can include irregular heartbeat, nervousness, muscle weakness, and mood swings. Other corticosteroid medications may cause similar problems.

Reserpine is used to treat high blood pressure and certain emotional conditions, as well as a few other problems. Side effects may include dizziness, faintness, anxiety, and palpitations. Some individuals have even developed phobic reactions while taking reserpine.

Synthetic thyroid hormones are used for treating hypothyroidism. Excessive levels of these hormones can cause rapid heartbeat, palpitations, shortness of breath, nervousness, unusual sweating, and anxiety.