Have you noticed that your dental anxiety has been increasing lately? Maybe you used to have no trouble going to the dentist, or did have mild anxiety but it was manageable. But now your anxiety has gotten so bad that it’s hard or nearly impossible for you to make your dental appointments. There are many potential causes for increased dental anxiety, but one of them that you should consider is that it could be medications you are taking for other conditions. Here are some medications that can cause anxiety.

Once you’ve tracked down the cause of your dental anxiety, you can consider whether sedation dentistry might be right to help you overcome your anxiety.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the US. About one in ten people in the US take antidepressants of the variety selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Among women age 40-60, that number increases to one in every four.

SSRIs can be effective at combatting depression, but they can also cause many side effects. Not only can they increase your risk of dental implant failure, but they can also cause anxiety. Typically, anxiety associated with SSRIs is a short-term phenomenon. It can last for several weeks before resolving spontaneously, although it does make some people quit treatment early.

Some medications can cause dental anxiety

Asthma Medications

Some asthma medications can cause anxiety disorders. Partly this is an effect of the asthma medication, but partly it’s triggered by a previous association between breathing and anxiety. Some asthma medications can cause your heart rate to speed up, which can also make you worried you’re having an anxiety attack.  The asthma medications can trigger or exacerbate anxiety attacks or make it harder for you to to calm down after an attack.

Blood Pressure Medications

Anxiety is a recognized side effect of the blood pressure medication methyldopa. Methyldopa converts to dopamine in the body, which in turn can convert into adrenaline, causing an anxious response.

Amphetamines

Amphetamines are commonly found in many medications, including benzedrine, dexedrine, and Ritalin. Amphetamines can cause anxiety because they trigger the release of hormones into the body, which can lead to anxiety.

Hormone-Containing Medications

Medications that introduce hormones directly to the body can also cause an anxious response. Oral contraceptives are known to cause anxiety, and hormone replacement therapy may also contribute to anxiety.

Steroids

Steroids come in many forms such as cortisone, dexamethasone, and prednisone. These steroids can be used for many purposes, such as reducing the body’s inflammatory response, often for pain control.

But steroids can also trigger anxiety because they trigger the production of excess hormones.

Don’t Forget Nonprescription Medications

Sometimes people think that because there’s no prescription required, over-the-counter medications don’t have side effect, but they do. Many medications contain caffeine, either to help you stay awake, relieve pain, or improve mood. Caffeine can also trigger a panic attack.

Some decongestants contain phenylephrine. This is an anti-inflammatory, but it can also trigger anxiety attacks.

Is It Safe to Take Sedatives with Your Medications?

Sedation dentistry can sometimes help you overcome anxiety attacks related to your medications, but you have to make sure that there won’t be any dangerous interactions between your medications and the sedation. In general, sedation dentistry is very safe, and there are few interactions, but we work hard to ensure the safety of every patient.

Talk to your doctor and if you think that you might benefit from sedation dentistry in the Orlando area, please call (407) 834-6446 today for an appointment with sedation dentist Dr. Michael L. Weinstock in Altamonte Springs.