The People's Perspective on Medicine

Is Your Medication Causing Nightmares?

When sleep is disrupted with terrifying dreams, it makes sense to consider medication causing nightmares.
Sleep bad dream

We are all encouraged to get a good night’s sleep. That’s because scientists have found that restful sleep is important for brain function, cardiovascular health and diabetes management.

Nothing interferes with restful sleep like a terrifying nightmare. When someone is chasing you or trying to do you severe harm in a dream, it is hard to wake up refreshed.

Health professionals understand that trauma can leave lasting scars that manifest themselves in recurrent bad dreams. Sometimes counseling can help the unconscious mind deal with such suffering.

What therapy cannot help, however, are drug-induced nightmares. A surprising number of medications can cause really bad dreams.

It is not a side effect that is often mentioned when a prescription is written or filled, so it can be difficult to detect a medication causing nightmares. Nevertheless, this adverse drug reaction can cause a great deal of distress.

Antibiotic Medication Causing Nightmares

One reader related this story:

“I took levofloxacin (Levaquin) for a prostate infection. About two weeks after I started taking it I began to suffer from extreme anxiety and horrific nightmares. I thought I was losing my mind. It never occurred to me that the medication could have been the culprit; my doctor even said that it wasn’t the Levaquin. Searching the Internet proved I was not alone. My time in hell lasted for months.”

Others have reported bad nightmares with this class of antiobiotics (quinolones like levofloxacin or ciprofloxacin) and the official prescribing information warns about insomnia and nightmares.

Beta Blockers and Bad Dreams

Beta blocker heart medicines like metoprolol and propranolol have also been linked to insomnia and ugly dreams:

“Years ago I was started on propranolol to maintain a regular heartbeat. I have had vivid and unpleasant dreams since being on this drug, and occasional really bad nightmares.”

Stop-Smoking Drug Causing Nightmares

The prescribing information for the stop-smoking drug varenicline (Chantix) mentions, “vivid, unusual, strange or abnormal dreams.”

Readers have shared stories like this:

“I started Chantix after many unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking. By night three the vivid dreams had turned into nightmares from which I awoke angry and agitated. I awoke the morning of the fourth day after another nightmare. My partner was snoring, which agitated me to the point where I thought a bullet would certainly solve this problem. The shock of such a thought, which is so far removed from the way I normally feel, scared me.”

Scary Dreams on Statin Drugs

Other people have described sleep problems with cholesterol-lowering drugs:

“My husband takes pravastatin. He has been having nightmares at least three to four times a week. It is getting so bad that I cannot sleep. He has kicked me and hit me in the head. He told me he was fighting a monster.”

There is nothing in the prescribing information for pravastatin (Pravachol) about nightmares, but a related statin medicine, atorvastatin (Lipitor), does carry such a warning.

Even antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor) can cause nightmares.

It is time for prescribers and pharmacists to alert their patients to this side effect. Since sleep is important to good health, when drugs cause terrifying dreams that wake people, alternate treatments should be considered.

If you have found your medication causing nightmares, you can share your story below.


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    About the Author
    Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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    I have found that I cannot tolerate the statin drugs for the same reasons…nightmares…have tried Mevacor, Lipitor, Atorvastatin…all the same.

    I’ve been having terrible nightmares. I’ve kicked my husband, pulled his hair. I’ve sworn in my sleep. Feels like somebody is trying to harm me. I sat straight up in bed on my knees and hit the headboard so hard that I caused cuts to my knuckles and bad bruising. I’ve been hollering in my sleep. Night before last I bit myself so hard on the arm that it left bad bruising. My family and I are getting very concerned. I just left the generic for Lipitor off, and I have had a restful night. Going to talk to my Dr about an alternative medicine. Thank you.

    I started taking Doxycycline Hyclate for a sinus infection. 4 days later I woke with my roommate telling me I was doing a blood curdling scream. I just remember a black shadow coming for me in my bedroom. That’s all I remember. Then I felt nauseous and started shaking uncontrollably. I could barely walk or talk. My friend took me to the ER, and the Dr there diagnosed me with night terrors and told me I might have had a reaction to the med and it would be ok if I quit it. The next day I contacted my Dr., and she felt it was a panic attack, as I do have those (but never with the extreme shaking). She also said Doxycyline doesn’t cause that symptom. I am not going to finish them, as I believe it did cause that. I know how to work thru a panic attack. This was not like a panic attack I have ever had.

    I have nightmares everý night since taken pravastatin

    I have been having nightmares of waking up screaming, seeing hallucinations of someone standing over me. After googling, I found that I am taking two of the medications that are mentioned. Atorvastatin and Metoprolol. I feel that it is the latter, since I started taking it about the time that they started. Believe me, these dreams, are terrifying!!

    I was having mental cloudiness & depression using atorvastatin (for 4-5 months) & was experiencing word loss. I am now trying out CoQ10. All my other medications are unchanged. About 3-4 days after starting CoQ10, I began experiencing horrific nightmares every night. I’ve been chased by a madman with a red chainsaw hollering “look out for your clothes, USA!” I’ve had monster trucks mounted on 30-foot scissor lifts hunting me down. I even dreamed my ex rescued me from being dragged underwater by a tangle of slimy eels. The dreams are just off the charts. I wake up sweat-drenched & my heart beating out of my chest. Has anyone else experienced nightmares using CoQ10?

    I feel compelled to share this after having just through one of the most terrifying nights of my life. I am a 5′ w”, 117 lb. Female, age 71. I’m diabetic, have high cholesterol, loss of digestive motility and osteoporosis. I have spent my entire life on a farm and at a public pressure cooker job. I’ve been a workaholic everyday of my life. Most of my health issues are genetic. Father was diabetic and died from a massive heart attack and both brothers are diabetic and have had open heart surgery. The loss of motility was the result of 3 months of Augmentin for a severe sinus infection. Almost twenty years ago doctors began prescribing various stations in an attempt to lower my cholesterol. Each one caused such severe muscle cramps that I got to a point where I could no longer walk uphill. Some even caused torticollis and chest spasms so severe that they slammed me back in a chair and I couldn’t move. I stopped taking them and, of course, my cholesterol soared. As a last resort, the cardiologist put me on Prevastatin. Within two weeks the muscle cramps started. They evolved into torticollis again and began to involve every muscle in my body. I stopped taking the Prevastatin and within three days the problem began clearing up. The cardiologist told me to start taking a double dose every other day, along with CoQ10 everyday. It was either that or die from a massive heart attack. Well, that worked, as far as the muscle cramps were concerned but something worse started happening. I began having nagging headaches and visual disturbances wherein I saw layers of things, I.e. when looking toward a tree line I saw another tree line on top of that one or when looking toward a light in the distance I saw three lights stacked on top of each other. That wasn’t the worse, however. When almost asleep at night I would be suddenly jolted awake and could not go back to sleep for hours. If I didn’t get up I would begin seeing a never-ending series of pictures, all unrelated, flash through my mind like a film clip rolling continuously. It was exhausting because in order to stop it I had to get up and sit in a chair and read for hours. That was bad enough but now I’ve started having the most horrible, terrifying nightmares imaginable. The worst one yet came last night after I’d been asleep for about two hours. It went on endlessly and was so horrifying and so vivid that I awakened drenched in sweat with my heart pounding like a sledgehammer. I got up and sat in a chair the rest of the night. I can recall every minute, vivid detail of that dream. I don’t drink; have never had a drink in my life and have never used drugs of any kind. It has to be the Prevastatin. I arrived at this forum seeking answers and wanted to share my story in the event it might help someone else understand what statin drugs can do to the human mind and body. What is my next step? I don’t have the answer to that. I just know I can’t continue in this manner.

    I think I’m obligated to say that I also have bad dreams due to the atorvastatin. They were bad enough that I wanted to quit (I did for a while) by my doctor warned me that I am at high risk by not taking it and basically implied that I would have to deal with the dreams. Not always nightmares – strange and sad lately. But yes, the med gives me bad dreams

    I was prescribed a short term dosage of 7.5 mg meloxicam (Mobic) daily for back spasms and severe osteoarthritis of spine on several occasions over the past 3 years . Each time I was taking that medication, I had vivid dreams…usually very convoluted and disturbing, sometimes enough to awaken me with the belief that what happened in the dream was actually real. Since most of the time I don’t dream or remember dreams, there certainly seems to be a correlation with taking this particular medication.

    I have been taking Atorvastatin as part of my Diabetes2 treatment for a long time and have a lot of sleep disturbance wking 2-3 times per night with perisitant bad dreams. I have reduced my metformin dosage by 50% but this has had no effect on the dreams. Should I stop the Atorvastatin or is there an alternative drug?

    I was prescribed Atorvastatin 8 years ago to lower hereditary high cholesterol. I began having night terrors every few weeks. The vivid dreams were always of someone attacking me in my bedroom. I would wake up screaming and a few times even struck my husband.

    After several years the night terrors became more frequent and more vivid. Finally last year I was having them almost every night. I told my Doctor and he attributed them to stress, even though I mentioned they started after I started taking the Atorvastatin. While having an acupuncture treatment for low back pain, I mentioned the night terrors during my intake session. The Acupuncturist, who was also an MD, noticed the Atorvastatin in my chart and told me that nightmares and night terrors are a side effect of statin drugs.

    He advised me to try weaning off the statin. I did over several months and as soon as I started reducing the statin, the frequency of the night terrors decreased, and once I stopped the drug, they disappeared altogether. I would rather take my chance with heart disease then go through that experience again. Wish I had found this forum sooner, they definitely do not mention this side effect in any of the drug literature.

    I have a circadian rhythm disorder called Non-24 Hour Sleep Wake Syndrome resulting in odd sleep hours. On the really bad weeks I take over-the-counter sleeping pills. I’ve been having terrible nightmares on those nights and end up with no rest because I keep waking up over and over again from the nightmares. I’d guess at least ten times per night.

    I finally had to research this topic after a particularly scary dream this week. I jumped out of bed in a defensive fighting stance with my heart racing and drenched in sweat. That’s it – no more sleeping pills. I’d rather go to work with no sleep than live through that in the nights!

    WOW! I’m so glad I read these posts! So I’m not losing my mind after all! If the bad statin induced dreams weren’t bad enough, I am now suffering from depression after being on Lipitor for 3 months. Why on earth aren’t these terrible side effects not listed on the pamphlet that comes with the pills?? It’s downright dangerous. Oh – I know why – because these drugs are one of the biggest money-makers for big pharm.

    I started taking so many different types of medicine after my heart attack this past July. Now it seems I have nightmares every night. I discovered that Lipotor had this side effect now I am concerned, and also my other heart meds may add to this problem.

    After years of resisting my doctor’s insistence that I take cholesterol medication to lower my cholesterol levels, I was prescribed Crestor. Prior to taking Crestor I’d never experienced vivid and interactive dreams. I now yell out, kick, fight and one night jumped out of bed thinking I was falling or fleeing something or someone. I hit my head on the night table beside the bed resulting in a small gash. That table is now covered with a thick bath towel to cushion the blow if I hit my head again.

    I have had two sleep studies and I did not dream either. My doctor has denied that my medication is the cause of these dreams, but I’m not convinced. My prescription was later changed to pravastatin 10mg. Since I’m convinced its the medication, I discontinued taking on a regular basis. Next annual checkup, my cholesterol was high, so the dosage was increased to 20mg.

    Just last night, I threw myself out of bed again (didn’t hit my head), but landed on the floor jamming my toe – although it feels like it, its not broken. My husband sleeps light trying to keep watch over me and is worried I’ll seriously hurt myself. Ironically, one of my church members was in a similar situation (taking cholesterol medication, having vivid dreams) fell out of bed and hit head on bed table hard enough that she lost consciousness. She is now paralyzed from the waist down. I plan to have a heart-to-heart talk with my doctor, because I don’t want this to happen to me. Thanks to those who shared their experiences. Now I don’t feel I’m losing my mind.

    Fifth night of atorvastatin increase from 10mg to now 20mg at bedtime. Just had scary early morning dream involving defending my family from Halloween “haunted house” attraction “real” attack. I gutted the scarecrow guy with a knife, revealing turkey stuffing (Yes, it’s funny) and he continued to stand, subdued, while we called for the authorities. I have had similar violent dreams before on attempts to increase to 20mg. Will keep trying, since for me bad dreams like this about death beat real premature demise, eh? I’ve never used alcohol or recreational drugs (except coffee).

    I’ve had insomnia all of my life since I was 3 years old. Most of my childhood trauma was mental abuse in the form of nightmares and some physical sexual abuse from non-blood related predators whom made their way into our family.

    What I’m saying is that most medical professionals did not focus on my insomnia only the depression which made all anti-depression medicine ineffective for my treatment.

    As an older, educated, more experienced and self aware adult (age 49) I believe insomnia is my main issue.

    I was forced to seek medical attention for my insomnia recently and was prescribed a type of anti-depressant (again!) by a NP. Don’t know what I did to be treated and drug tested like a delinquent yet so it went, the appointment.

    The prescribed medication is Trazadone or something like that and I dread the thought of taking half a tablet of 50 mg of because of the unthinkable nightmares it causes.

    Not sure how such demonic scenes of children being persecuted could manifest from my subconscious. I’ve never seen or thought upon such treachery yet there it was lucid. The worse part of it all is that I am filled with such fear that I do nothing to help these small strangers because I am so scared I can’t move or I run in the other direction screaming for help. The running away and not helping goes against everything I am in real life and it brings me down when I wake up. What a real jerk this NP. Especially because during the appointment he belittled me and while he swore he was not being judgmental, his actions proved otherwise.

    Started on atorvastatin 7 months ago for genetic high cholesterol. Caused bad muscle and joint aches and pains plus the never ending nightmares. Took them for a month and on doctors advice had a months break, when my aches, pains and nightmares disappeared. Changed to Simvastatin which caused the same side effects. Stopped taking these after only 2 weeks and returned to my normal self.

    Had another break for a month and started taking pravastatin. Into my second month on these. No joint or muscle aches and pains, just back ache on waking up which goes away by noon. But still have the nightmares.

    I am 71. Two of my siblings and both my parents had heart attacks in their 70’s.
    My cholesterol is 7.5 I have a strict diet which avoids most cholesterol causing foods. I stopped drinking alcohol 7 months ago.

    I weigh 8st. It seems statins cause more side effects in slightly built people than fatter people. My doctor says I have a 14% chance of having a heart attack if I stop taking statins. Do I opt to live longer with the nightmares, or do I take a chance and wake up refreshed, but for how many more years?

    I have been taking Amlodipine for over a year and every night since starting it I have had terrible nightmares. I mentioned it to my doctor and he asked if something was bothering me. I knew that this drug could cause nightmares. I am getting ready to wean myself off of it and try an alternative approach for my blood pressure. Anyone else experience this symptom from this drug?

    I have had 6 stents and a heart bypass since 2009. Have taken every medication given to me by specialists, changing one or two along the way for various reasons. I used to take Simvastatin for approx. 18 months these gave me constant lower leg/calf aches, changed to pravastatin (leg aches gone). Then had last procedure – balloon stenting and needed my cholesterol lower than 4.3 so since Feb 2016 have been on Atorvastatin 80mg. Since being diagnosed/surgeries/Meds my sleep has not been good and since very tired in morning/afternoon or evening just feel drained and am having horrible nightmares where I don’t want to go back to sleep. our Cardiac Nurse was giving a talk and I have realised it could be the Atorvastatin? And poss other Medstead making me lethargic. I am going to speak to my Gp

    Yes, definitely something to do with statins. I had a heart bypass operation a year ago and was put on an 80mg dose subsequently. In the following few weeks I had very weird trip-like dreams and even felt drunk during the day. Luckily, I read the leaflet that came with the tablets and indeed it did advise this could be a side effect.

    I immediately reduced down to 40mg and that helped. I told my doctor (just in case) but he agreed with the hospital’s dosage of 80mg being correct. My research online showed that 80mg is the max usual dosage mostly given to people with very high cholestorol levels – even my home visit nurse thought it was high. 20mg seems to be “average” to maintain low cholestorol levels.

    I called the doctor to ask his opinion on this, but he was away and I got to see a locum instead – strangely, he agreed with me that 20mg was a good level (10mg being probably not effective). Now, a year on, I’m starting to get the bad/weird dreams again /sleepy during the day,and I’m wondering if my body has had enough of these statins? I’d certainly check my dosage if I was getting the bad dreams described by others on here, and don’t automatically accept what your doctor or specialist prescribes!

    My father was on a cocktail of drugs for high cholesterol, and slowing down racing heart and antidepressants drugs. Lipitor was one he was on for years. He either became diabetic after this or his diabetes was uncontrollable at times putting him into hypos.

    Anyway, what forced him into a nursing home was his vivid acting out of nightmares. I had to get a lock installed on my mother’s door to lock him out as he had attacked her several times at night thinking she was an intruder. We also removed any sharp or heavy objects and scissors and knives and replaced with only blunt knives.

    He hit out at her than used a weapon but it was a precaution. By this time he had ‘dementia’ so it was put down to that. Sometimes it happened during day as he did not sleep at night due to insomnia and did his main sleeping during the day. Medications have a lot to answer for in destroying lives. My father was in his 60s when his meds started but imagine if he was younger what havoc there would be on a young family.

    I have started taking atorvastatin about 4 weeks ago. Since then I had had pleasant and unpleasant dream about 3 04 4 times a week. Most of my dreams usually involve something physical ( kicking bad people or using my arm as a baseball bat). My wife is petrified and we have slept in separate beds. I also have fallen out of bed twice…once I split my lip. Over the last week, I have stopped and my “vivid” dreams have stopped also. In addition to the cholesterol med, I take a HBP and ashtma. I think it is so important to share this.

    Have been on sertraline for 4wks now and a couple of nights ago, I nodded off sleep with my daughter and suddenly leapt out of bed.Thought this was funny and put it down as something random.Then last night I was dreaming someone was attacking me and I bit them, when in reality I bit my daughter on the arm. Waking us both up with her cries. This has devistated me and after reading up, I know the leaping out of the bed thing is not random and I will be going to the doctors as I can’t co tinge taking this drug. I am prone to nightmares that are vivid and don’t want to be acting anything out in my sleep that can harm my daughter or myself. Scared.

    I’m on two blood pressure medications. The first carries warnings about nightmares in the early stages. I usually take this in the morning and the second at night. Sometimes I take the second one at a later time if I’m working, and I feel this is linked to whether I have nightmares. Is it possible it kicks in at a certain stage in the sleep cycle and if taken later it kicks in at the wrong time thereby disrupting or tapping into areas in the brain that produce nightmares?

    I usually awaken from these but feel disoriented and feel mentally unbalanced and wanted to do something bad. I came out of it by telling myself it wasn’t me, it was the medication and got up and watched TV, kept myself distracted until I returned to “normal”.

    I do not have mental health problems normally, but have had anxiety and depression a few years ago. Obviously, when I take the medication at my normal time, I don’t have these incidents so try to stick to this as much as possible. But I want to discontinue the second one because of this possible side effect.

    I just started taking Baclofen for issues with my neck and back. I have never had such terrifying, vivid nightmares. They happen early in the night, unlike the occasional dream I have that is not drug induced. Woke up with my heart beating out of my chest feeling like I had just gotten into of the worst situation of my life. Cannot tell these nightmares from reality when they happen and panic in my half asleep/awake state. Not on any other drugs, but have PTSD. Do not normally have dreams that can be remembered. No other side effects with Baclofen, only terrible nightmares.

    My 89 year old mother who has dementia started having very vivid hallucinations and / or nightmares or night terrors. I did not suspect the Zyrtec. However, she ran out of the medication and started sleeping very well through the night (and so did I). I thought what was happening was only related to dementia. It looks like it was indeed the Zyrtec. Thanks to all of you for sharing and helping me confirm my suspicion.

    I suspect either Bisoprolol or Atorvastatin maybe causing hallucinations, visual disturbance and night terrors in my husband. At present my husband is in hospital following a HF relapse and upon visiting I noticed him shaking his body, telling me there were people/objects in his room etc. Most alarmingly is that he is also experiencing tactile hallucinations. His demeanour is that of someone dreaming in an awake state. This must be distressing to suffer and it is definitely distressing to witness.

    I am taking Clarithromycin (Biaxin). What I am enduring at night amounts to psychological torture, and I pretty well wish I never had to sleep again. Got about 3 hours of sleep last night, and woke up crying. Dreams are extremely vivid and bizarre, have twisted, convoluted plots, and are frightening and emotionally disturbing. I’m starting to feel like it’s Nightmare on Elm Street – pass the caffeine, please.

    I have been on levofloxacin for about 6 days for a respiratory infection. I have just begun having vivid, bizarre dreams and that is why I googled this site. I’ve never had a reaction to a drug like this and it’s rather disturbing. Anxiety over a possible respiratory crisis is part of the disease, COPD, so having only 4 more days of this drug is the only thing to do if weighed on a scale. I just wish the weird dreams didn’t occur every time I fall asleep. Perhaps I’ll be able to put this in it’s place now that I am aware that it is a side effect of a drug.

    Taking Zyrtec for only 4 days in PM for inner ear disturbance. Experienced difficulty getting to sleep the third night and last night endured horrific nightmares. This was similar to one I had as a child during a sickness with a very high fever. Nightmare is not as accurate a description as a night of terrifying hallucinations where I thought I was in imminent harm. The experience makes me feel very uneasy about sleep tonight. I will discontinue med now.

    My wife and I are both on statin drugs my takes atorvastatin and I take simvastatin we both experience vivid nightmares and visions. These dreams and visions include seeing people standing in our bedroom doorway or looking down over us while we sleep or being chased by something or someone and not being able to get home.

    I take Simvastin to counter high cholesterol levels. Since taking it I am regularly experiencing extremely vivid and violent dreams. Usually I am watching violent scenes occurring to others, much like watching a movie rather than being personally involved. There’s a very strong sense of reality, including coherent and developing plots, usually in a dystopian setting. While the dreams can be visually unpleasant due to the gore and violence there is almost no sense of emotional involvement – its like something I’m watching rather than personally experiencing which is markedly different to normal dreams.
    In addition I also experience hallucinogens visions usually when right on the edge of waking up. This has no plot or theme like a regular dream but is a constant flow of visual images. There’s no emotional involvement, just a random stream of intermingling and fleeting images. It reminds me of the hallucinations I experienced many years ago after taking magic mushrooms.
    Hopefully this information is useful to someone.

    I have not experienced dreams with medication, but I do believe that drinking alcohol in the evening, even as little as a glass of wine, can cause me to dream very vividly, not necessarily scary, but ongoing throughout the night.

    Baclofen was prescribed for me to help back spasms following a spinal fusion. Right away I experienced vivid, horrific nightmares. I stopped taking the drug after dreaming that I was driving my small car with my companion cattledog riding with me. It seemed absolutely real as we slammed into a concrete wall at 180 mph! I woke up thinking I was crawling on my hands and knees thinking “We have to be dead, we could not have survived this.” I was looking for my sweet dog.
    I never took another pill, but the terror is hard to shake. I’ll never forget it.

    I have been taking Ambien for several months now. At first my roommate would find me sleepwalking in the kitchen, when she asked me what I was fixing that time of night she said nothing I said was making any sense. Therefore, she took me by the shoulders and lead me back to my room and I went back to bed.

    I did that off and on for a couple of months. The doctor said that can happen on this medicine but I have so many allergies to so many meds. She asked me if I would stay on it for a little while longer, and if it persists she would give me something different for sleep. During this time I also had many “Bad Dreams” it was awful! I wish they would come out with more homeopathic medicines they have a lot less side effects, and also make them to where our insurance would cover the costs!!

    While I was taking Allegra, I also got many vivid dreams all night long that interfered with my sleep! My son also had this symptom while taking Allegra.

    Eight years ago I was prescribed pravachol (in retrospect, I did not need statins). I had terrible nightmares the entire time I took it, over a year. When I told my doctor about the nightmares he looked at his drug reaction reference guide (a published book, not an updated internet reference) and told me nightmares were not a side-effect. It occurred to me that there might be many patients in their doctors’ offices complaining of nightmares at that very moment, but because nightmares were not listed in the published book my complaints were dismissed. I suffered for a year and then couldn’t take it any longer so I took myself off the drug and the nightmares went away. That year of nightmares took its toll on me.

    Many years ago, I was prescribed the antihistamine Zyrtec daily for chronic urticaria. Subsequently, I began having very scary nightmares, typically involving some sort of serious violence. I would wake up quite frightened and have to fully awaken not to go back into the dream. Meanwhile I continued the Zyrtec for many years. My rheumatologist suggested I might get some mental health therapy. Finally, in desperation, I searched the internet and found a blog where people were describing their bloody and violent nightmares while on Zyrtec. I immediately began tapering off it, as there can be rebound itching, and replaced it with the less efficacious Loratadine. Almost immediately the nightmares went away. Neither my allergist or pharmacist believed that this could be a side effect. Since then I have found a few other people who describe this effect and, like me, are naturally vivid dreamers which I believe might make us more susceptible.

    I had exactly the same experience with Zyrtec. For two months while taking a daily dose I developed all the symptoms of REM sleep disorder. Violent dreams that I would act out in my sleep. My wife told me that I was kicking and punching and fighting every night in my sleep. I finally put two-and-two together and the day after I stopped the Zyrtec my sleep returned to normal. There are established links between REM sleep disorder and Alzheimer’s disease. There are also links between long term use of certain antihistamines and Alzheimer’s. I think I probably had a narrow escape.

    I was also prescribed Zyrtec to help with nasal congestion due to allergies and almost immediately began having nightmares. I gave up on the medication after about 2 weeks and the nightmares went away in a day or two.

    I had terrible nightmares on progestin as well as irritability and sudden outbursts of anger. Bad stuff. Now on bio-identical progesterone without side effects. Drugs are dangerous. Keep up the information.

    I had terrible nightmares on Simvastatin. I put up with it for about 2 years and then I could tolerate it no longer. My doctor switched me to Atorvastatin. I still have vivid, sometimes uncomfortable dreams but not the serious nightmares I had on Simvastatin. Interestingly, Atorvastatin has a warning about bad dreams; Simvastatin does not.

    Wow! I just read your information on certain drugs causing nightmares. I have been taking pravastatin for at least 6 months and never knew there was a connection. I have nightmares regularly and have even woken my husband kicking and hitting him. I feel so bad when this happens but at least now I can explain why. Thank you so much!

    I had very bad anxiety issues on Cipro and Flagyl, combined, following an acute episode of infectious colitis. I was ding-y, unable to concentrate, and in the night, on the second or third day, I had the worst panic attack of my life. It included a partial hallucination of myself not really being in the mirror I was looking into. They switched me to Amoxycillin for the duration of the treatment and the anxiety issues subsided.

    I found that the antidepressant sertraline caused very vivid dreams, and resulted in my “acting out” aggressively in my sleep, for instance punching a fan, diving out of bed, and finally getting really hurt. When the medication was discontinued this sort of very vivid dream stopped.

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