9 Common Medications That Can Affect Your Exercise Routine

It’s standard practice when taking a new medication to think about interactions with other medicines you’re already taking, your medical conditions, and the foods you eat.

Here’s a list of medications you should be careful of when you’re working out-


Antidepressants like sertraline (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac) can cause extreme fatigue, making it very difficult to exercise.

Also, exercising through fatigue increases your likelihood of hurting yourself since you may not be as alert as usual. Try to plan any physical activity 3-4 hours after you take your antidepressants.

Long-acting sleeping pills

Many people take long-acting sleeping pills like eszopiclone (Lunesta) and extended-release zolpidem (Ambien CR) to help sleep better.

The trouble with these medications is that they can cause a daytime hangover, i.e., you may feel groggy and drowsy the day after using them.

When using these medications, you can plan a late-morning or evening workout instead of exercising early in the morning.


Some people take antihistamines (instead of sleeping pills)- diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to treat insomnia. Diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) are also used for treating cold, allergy, and flu symptoms. Unfortunately, they can cause daytime drowsiness, just like sleeping pills.

Loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra), and cetirizine (Zyrtec) are antihistamines that don’t make you tired. These alternatives may be appropriate.

Diabetic medications (sulfonylureas and insulins)

Insulin and sulfonylurea medications like glipizide are two diabetes treatments with a high risk of hypoglycemia.

As exercise can lower your blood sugar, combining high-intensity exercise with these medications can be risky.

You must speak to your doctor about an appropriate exercise routine while taking these diabetes medications.

Blood pressure medications

Beta-blockers:  These drugs cover up most of the hypoglycemia symptoms (trembling, nervousness, shaking) except sweating.

However, it’s normal to sweat during exercise!

Beta-blockers can thus make exercise risky, especially for people who have diabetes. Another complication is that they lower your heart rate, which means you can’t rely on your heart rate to measure your exercise intensity accurately.

Other blood pressure-lowering drugs: Exercise helps lower your BP, even after your workout is complete. This post-workout BP drop can worse if you’re also taking medications to lower BP (beta-blockers, diuretics, ACE inhibitors).

That means you’ll want to talk to your doctor about how to safely monitor your exercise intensity to make sure your heart rate and blood pressure don’t drop too low.


Simvastatin and rosuvastatin (Crestor) help lower cholesterol but can also cause muscle cramps or muscle pain.

While taking these medications, it is best to stick to exercises that don’t strain your muscles.

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics

Levofloxacin (Levaquin) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro) are two popular medications.

A significant drawback of FQs is that they can cause painful inflammation and tear of tendons, the tissue that connects your muscles to your bones.

Thus, high-intensity exercise could increase the likelihood of tendon rupture. To be safe, consider taking a break from exercise until you finish your antibiotic course.

Oral decongestants

Decongestants like phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) can raise your heart rate and blood pressure- just like exercise.

If your heart rate or blood pressure is too high, you may get tired faster, hurt yourself, and increase your risk of having a heart attack or arrhythmia.

Opioid pain relievers and muscle relaxants

Opioids like oxycodone and muscle relaxants like carisoprodol (Soma) affect your nervous system, causing blurred vision and extreme dizziness.

This can be especially dangerous during exercise because you’re more likely to hurt yourself without even realizing it.

Talk to your doctor about the best way to incorporate exercise into your life while taking either of these medications.

Here are a few additional suggestions:

  1. Stay hydrated

  2. Be careful when going from lying down to sitting or sitting to standing

  3. If you feel dizzy or light-headed, sit down and take a break

  4. Wear a heart rate monitor during exercise (especially elders)

  5. Participating in low-intensity exercise while using any of these medications

  6. Exercise at least 6 hours after taking medications


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