(WZZM) - It's never pleasant to wake up in the middle of the night, but when it comes in the form of a heart pounding nightmare, it's even worse.
"I remember that last one was like all these demons were after me. They were piercing me with sharp objects and pulling me down to hell."
That's what began happening to Jimmy Harris just a few days after his knee surgery. "I woke up crying, literally. It was horrible. It was bad."
Harris discovered his nightmares were coming from the oxycontin that his doctor had prescribed for pain.
"There is a laundry list of medications that can cause nightmares," says Dr. Joseph Krainin, the head of Saint Mary's Sleep Center in Grand Rapids. He showed me the list of nearly a hundred medications that have nightmares as a side effect and it included everything from common antibiotics, sleep medications, heart and blood pressure, cholesterol, ADHD, anti-depressants and more.
"Any medication that crosses the blood-brain barrier has the potential to cause nightmares." Dr. Krainin says when a medication causes a chemical reaction in your brain that's when you increase the chances of having nightmares. "When you mess around with those types of things, you can alter dreams."
But it's not just prescription medications you should watch out for - over the counter medications can cause them too, especially antihistamines like Benadryl.
It was a frightening lesson to learn, but Jimmy Harris says he's going to make sure the only dreams he has don't wake him up in the middle of the night. "Even if I have to take medication for something else, I'm going to be asking my doctor, 'hey does this cause nightmares?' If it does, I'm not taking it."
Remember every medication comes with an insert that lists the warnings and side effects so there is a way to find out if nightmares are a side effect.
Here is a list of the most common types of medications with nightmares as a side effect.
· ADHD drugs: Ritalin, Vyvanse, Adderall
· AIDS drugs: Sustiva
· Antianxiety drugs: Cymbalta, EffexorT
· Antibiotics: Cipro
· Antidepressants: Tricyclics (Elavil, Tofranil, Remeron); SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa);
· Non-tricyclics (Wellbutrin); MAOI inhibitors (Nardil)
· Antiseizure drugs: Phenobarbital, Klonopin, Valpax
· Dementia drugs: Aricept, Risperdal, Exelon
· Heart medications: Beta blockers (Tenormin, Nadolol); also Digoxin, Coumadin
· High blood pressure drugs: ACE-inhibitors (Vasotec); calciumchannel blockers (Plendil, Sular, Covera); also: Kapvay, Nexiclon, Cozaar
· Pain relievers: Naproxen, Ketamine, morphine
· Parkinson's disease drugs: Symadine, Symmetrel, Requip
· Schizophrenia drugs: Clozapine, Risperdal, Zyprexa
· Sleep Aids: Restoril, Halcion, Ambien, Lunesta
· Smoking-cessation drugs: Chantix, nicotine patches, Zyban
· Statins: Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor