Drugs That Cause Shortness of Breath

Having shortness of breath is an extremely scary symptom that can be fatal, according to Cancerpage.com. Shortness of breath, in addition to wheezing, can be a side effect of many drugs, thus canceling out the effects of the drug. Knowing which drugs can have this side effect can help you determine if taking a certain medicine is correct for you.

Chemotherapy Medications

According to Cancerpage.com, numerous chemotherapy agents have side effects that include shortness of breath. These agents include Carmustine, Liposomal and Fentanyl. With Carmustine, the shortness of breath symptoms can appear after the chemotherapy is done. Liposomal is a drug used by patients who are being treated for Karposi's sarcome. With this drug, shortness of breath is common as a side effect. Fentanyl is a drug similar to Morphine, but much more powerful. With this drug, an overdose can lead to extreme shortness of breath, defined by Cancer Page as less than 8 breaths per minute.

Cholesterol Medications

Many cholesterol medications have serious side effects such as pain, numbness and chronic aches, according to Spacedoc.net. One side effect of these medications can be shortness of breath. Medications such as Zocor, Vytorin, Mevacor, Lipitor, Lescol and Pravachol can cause someone to have shortness of breath, especially if they overdose on the drug.


Prednisone is a drug consisting of numerous corticosteroids that can help prevent inflammation in the body. It is also used to treat skin conditions, allergies, lupus, colitis, arthritis and psoriasis, according to Drugs.com. One of the side effects of the drug can be shortness of breath, specifically if the dose one takes is more than their doctor recommends. The drug also can weaken the immune system, which can affect the respiratory tract and make it more difficult to breath.


Naproxen is a drug that can appear on its own or inside other medications, such as Aleve. The drug is often used as a pain reliever and to reduce any swelling that may occur throughout the body. One of the side effects of the drug is shortness of breath, in addition to other respiratory problems such as bronchospasm, according to Drugs.com. The shortness of breath can become much worse if an overdose of Naproxen is ingested into the body.

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