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Why Do I Feel Lightheaded? Medications That Could Be Responsible

Someone feeling lightheaded.

Lightheadedness is a feeling of wooziness, like you’re about to pass out or faint. Feeling lightheaded is related to but slightly different from feeling dizzy, which is when you feel unsteady or have problems keeping your balance. Vertigo, on the other hand, is a feeling of being off balance with a whirling or spinning sensation like the room is spinning around you. These symptoms can develop suddenly and put you at risk of falls and injuries.

In addition to the above health conditions, certain medical conditions can make you feel lightheaded, such as low blood sugar, low blood pressure, or dehydration. A lesser-known cause of lightheadedness is a side effect of certain medicines. Please continue reading to learn about some of the medications that can cause lightheadedness.

Why do I keep getting lightheaded for no reason?

If you keep getting lightheaded, there may be something going on in the background that you are not aware of. Common conditions that can cause dizziness and lightheadedness include:

  • Dehydration
  • Panic and anxiety
  • Low blood pressure (especially when you go from a sitting or lying position to standing)
  • Low blood sugar
  • Allergies
  • A viral infection such as the common cold or flu
  • Anemia, a blood disorder caused by low iron levels
  • Motion sickness
  • Balance disorders
  • Inner ear disorders such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (an inner ear condition), Ménière's disease, vestibular neuritis (inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the balance organ), and labyrinthitis
  • Circulatory disorders that affect blood vessels and blood flow to the inner ear
  • Disorders of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) such as vestibular migraine, arteriovenous malformations, neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, and post-concussion syndrome
  • Migraine
  • Anemia (low levels of healthy red blood cells)
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Ear or head injury
  • Inner ear infection
  • Medication side effects

You should make an appointment to see your healthcare provider if your lightheadedness is newly developed with no explainable causes or if it is associated with certain head movements and does not get better. Get emergency medical attention if you have additional symptoms with lightheadedness, such as severe dizziness, severe headache, weakness or numbness on one side of your body, confusion, trouble talking or walking, vision changes, hearing loss, chest pain, or shortness of breath.

What medications cause lightheadedness?

Some of the medications that can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded include:

How do you stop lightheadedness from medication?

Oftentimes, side effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness, balance problems, and other symptoms go away once your body gets used to the medicine. However, sometimes the symptoms occur even after you’ve been on the medication for a few weeks. It’s important to tell your doctor if you feel one or more of your medications is triggering dizziness and lightheadedness. If left untreated, these symptoms can cause possible complications such as falls and injuries. This risk is even higher in the elderly, leading to even worse outcomes.  

Your doctor may lower the dose of the medicine that is causing dizziness and lightheadedness or switch you to a different medication. They may ask you to change the time you take the medication, for example, just before bedtime, to lower your risk of falls. Older adults are more likely to develop lightheadedness and should discuss other drugs and safer alternatives with their doctor if a medicine makes them feel dizzy or lightheaded. 

What precautions should I take if a medication causes lightheadedness?

When you experience dizziness or lightheadedness, sit down or lie down and raise your legs if you can. It might help to drink some water, eat or drink something sweet, and rest until you feel better.

If self-care measures don’t help, make an appointment to see your doctor. They will rule out any serious underlying conditions with a physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies if needed. 

Take the following precautions if you feel lightheaded or cannot maintain balance:

  • Do not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or perform any hazardous activity until you no longer have symptoms.
  • Use handrails when going up and down stairs and in your bathroom.
  • Get out of bed slowly and rest your feet on the ground for a few minutes before standing up.
  • Practice yoga and other exercises to improve balance.
  • Keep your home clutter-free to avoid tripping and falling.


  1. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/amp/article/lightheadedness
  2. https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness/health-encyclopedia/he.dizziness-lightheadedness-and-vertigo.dizzi
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/dizziness/basics/causes/sym-20050886
  4. https://www.neurologylive.com/view/top-5-cns-causes-dizziness
  5. https://www.epilepsy.com/treatment/medicines/side-effects
  6. https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/medical/ask-the-experts/medication-dizziness-and-how-to-stop-it