Asthma Medicines That Cause Anxiety

Anxiety caused by specific asthma medications may lead to an anxiety disorder, states “A Consumer’s Guide to Psychiatric Drugs.” Moreover, asthma medications can exacerbate preexisting anxiety problems. Alternately, asthma medications in general may cause anxiety due to a psychosomatic response to a psychological connection between respiration and the medication, leading to dependency that can manifest as anxiety, according to “The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychosomatic Medicine. 2

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Albuterol and Salmeterol

Accordingly, they can increase heart rate as well as cause nausea, insomnia and decreased appetite, which are all shared symptoms of anxiety. As a result, those taking albuterol or salmeterol may feel anxious without cause.


Patients with asthma may either inhale or inject corticosteroids. In addition to causing aggression and psychosis, these drugs may also cause anxiety, according to Vanin, Helsley and Morgan. Inhaled corticosteroids cause substantially fewer side effects than systemic corticosteroids, which require injection.


Theophylline is a bronchodilator taken orally. Chemically, it is a methylxanthine akin to caffeine, differing by only one methyl group. It has a narrow therapeutic window, rendering most other asthma medications more effective. Side effects include increased heart rate, nausea, tremor, agitation and insomnia -- cumulatively translating as anxiety to the user.