Could your daily medication be the source of your pain?

We have all been there, reaching for our calf in agony as a muscle spasm shoots through our leg- that uncomfortable pain that comes out of nowhere and most often is not very timely. Whether it is in the middle of the night and you are abruptly awoken from your sleep, or your sitting at your desk in the middle of an important task – muscle cramps are never fun.  Causes of muscle cramps are so diverse, that it can be hard to know what could be causing yours. Dehydration, overworked muscles, diabetes, and various foods could be the culprit, but what about these 8 popular medications.

Lipitor / Anti- Cholesterol Meds – This common prescription drug is designed to lower cholesterol in the blood. Lipitor is used for adults and children over the age of 10 who cannot get their cholesterol regulated by diet and exercise alone. One of the side effects is muscle pain, cramping, and weakness, which could be the culprit of cramps in your body and the sign of serious problems.

Zyrtec / Allergy Medications– A common allergy drug available over-the-counter at any drug store, as well as with online retailers such as Amazon. This allergy medication is designed to temporarily relieve runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, sneezing, and itching of the nose or throat due to hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies. Studies have linked this drug to muscle spasms.

Celebrex / Anti-Inflammatory Meds– Prescribed to help with arthritis pain and inflammation, this 24-hour drug is common for those suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis. Warnings from the drug maker include taking this medication for the shortest time needed. This drug has not only been linked to muscle pain or cramping, but skin reactions such as rash and fever blisters.

Cipro– Commonly used to fight bacteria in the body such as a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). provides a warning – “you may not be able to use Cipro if you have a muscle disorder.” Side effects of this drug can cause swelling or tearing of a tendon, as well as muscle pain or stiffness.

Prozac– This prescription drug is used to to treat depression, bulimia, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The drug has been linked to possible skin pain, rash, swelling in the face, and lowering levels of sodium in the body. In addition it can create stiff muscles due to a nervous system reaction to the medication.

Zoloft– This antidepressant is similar to Prozac. Common side effects include tremors or shaking. Warnings of this drug include seeking medical attention right away for muscle stiffness.

Lyrica- A prescription drug used to control seizures and treat fibromyalgia has an active ingredient, pregabalin, which has been linked to joint and/or muscle pain.

Prevacid– Prevacid OTC is available over-the-counter to treat frequent heartburn- heartburn occurring two or more days per week. Side effects include symptoms associated with low magnesium: dizziness, muscle cramps, muscle spasms in hands and feet, and tremor or jerking muscle movements.

The photo below from AARP Magazine September 2015 shows a partial list of drugs that can be associated with muscle cramping or spasms. If you Google any of the drugs listed above, you will find their names associated to Lipitor muscle cramps, Celebrex muscle cramps, and so on in the search bar.

medication associted with muscle cramps

Things to Consider With Muscle Spasm Drug side effects?

(Tips from Dr. Romanksy, Podiatrist – Healthmark Foot & Ankle)

  1. Any drug can cause side effects
  2. Generic drugs are more likely, often because they are not as extensively tested as brand names drugs.  
  3. You could be allergic to the family of drugs (i.e. the ingredients), versus brand or generics.
  4. Many doctors commonly overlook the potential cause of muscle spasms being caused by drugs a patient may be taking.  

It is always important to discuss with your doctor all of the medications you are taking, to help properly identify your specific cause of muscle cramping. This article is providing information only and in no way attributed towards medical recommendations.