Can Mom's medications cause dizziness?

13 answers | Last updated: Mar 17, 2014
Bella ramdeen-ali asked...

I really need expert advice!!!!!

My mom uses lipitor 40mg, metoprolol 25mg, amitriptyline 50mg, hydrochlorothiazide 25mg, aspirin 81mg, eplerenone 25mg, actos 30mg and cozaar 50mg.

She takes all of the above simultaneously. What side effects can she have? She is complaining of dizziness.

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

The medications you have listed can definitely cause different side effects, with your mother's dizziness being one of them. My advice is to have her evaluated by her health care provider for her dizziness, especially since this places her at risk for falls. Of course the medications can be to blame, but other illnesses can cause dizziness as well, and she should be evaluated to rule out another cause.

Community Answers

Ktycat answered...

I am not an expert - but geez she sure has a lot of medications! I think it makes me dizzy looking at the list!

My mother had a similar experience and when we sat down and reviewed her meds with a doc, we discovered that about half the meds were totally unecessary.

Mill valley dad answered...'s senior medical editor, Dr. Leslie Kernisan, wrote a very interesting article based on this question. Check it out [here] (

Siouxzee answered...

There are many medications for elderly that cause dizziness & falls. This happened with my parents, make sure she is seeing someone that specializes in elderly care. Sometimes it helps to spread them out and not take all at once. Make sure she gets up slowly, no sudden moves and eliminate anything she can trip over. Use a walker if she doesn't already, but make sure she knows how to use it properly! I wish you the best! My heart is with you, been there, done that!!!

Azdancer answered...

My grandmother was on a lot of medications and was having difficulties. Fortunately my mother sat down with her doctor and evaluated her medications and took her off everything that wasn't life threatening. She greatly improved!

I was on Lipitor and had horrible side effects after using it for only 2 weeks! After asking my doctor about it, he said it wouldn't produce the side effects I experienced, but after reading the Lipitor information on the web I found I was experiencing some of the rare side effects. This is only one of the meds on your mothers list. Have then evaluated!

Dino answered...

Of course I would agree with others advice, but would like you to also consider the timing of these medications. I have found that my mother whether she is in the Nursing home or assisted living gets all her medications at the same time instead of splitting them up a bit. For example the doctor orders Metoprolol 25mg bid (twice a day), hydrochlorothiazide 25mg daily, eplerenone 25mg (bid), and cozaar 50mg (daily). All these medications lower blood pressure. The persons at the nursing home have a routine, all daily medications are to be given at 9am and all twice a day medications are to be given at 9am and 9pm. So what ends up happening may be that the medications are not sufficiently spread out to avoid combined side effects of dizziness. My mother does not have a problem at home taking these same medications because she takes the one a days at noon or at 3pm. Unfortunately I have not found much in the way of critical thinking in the Nursing homes and it is even worse in Assisted living where a person off the street can take a four hour class, pass a test and assist your loved one in taking their medication. I personally am outraged that this can and does happen.

Mustangsally91 answered...

As a retired nurse who's career was Long Term Care and Rehabilitation, I can definitely say that the water pill, and cozzar can cause dizziness. I didn't see that your mother is taking potassium which she should. Get her checked to make sure her levels are within normal because taking a water pill depletes the body of potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium. It is sad that far to many doctors don't seem to care about their senior patients. They prescribe dosages that are to strong and then the poor patient is left feeling horrible and often ends up in the hospital with drug interactions. Also, have her checked for anemia just to be safe and possibly, she's not getting enough water to drink and she is dehydrated which can cause dizziness too. I would suggest giving your mother 1,000 mg of Vitamin D3. Studies have shown it helps with balance and to many older people are deficient, in fact, most people are deficient. Also, have your mother checked for magnesium levels and Vitamin B-12 and in my opinion, I would take her off of that Statin. They deplete the body of valuable COQ-10 which the heart needs to stay strong. BTW, cholesterol isn't the problem, it's inflammation along the artery walls. When the medical profession gets with the program and comes out with a drug to address the inflammation, that would end heart attacks due to blockages. Course we all know the drug companies and cardiologists wouldn't like that as they'd lose money, no one needing angioplasties and tons of other drugs to treat heart patients. Good luck with your mom, and I hope she will soon be feeling better.

Hearwell center answered...

As an audiologist I would like to suggest that you consider vestibular testing at some point. Frequently the cause of dizziness can be determined through a vestibular evaluation and sometimes treated through physical therapy and other exercises.

Consumer information on balance rehabilitation:

The Balance Institute also has a great deal of information on:

Please see professional link for "Additional Resources on Vestibular Disorders, Evaluation, and Rehabilitiation" on the American Speech and Hearing Association's website:

Sincerely, Suzanne Yoder, Au.D. HearWell Center

Jane may answered...

I have hypothyoid, low white cell, and get dizzy not all the time, I can be standing, sitting, lying down. I take kelp tablets 1-very low dosage a day for my thyoid. The doctor put me on medication for this & was getting stomach cramps, so I took kelp. I take no medications. I take ginger pills at times, B-vit, C, garlic pills, magnesium-oxide maybe A, or a multi-vit not all at once, might take a B & C or other vitamins, when I feel the need too. I take my kelp everyday. I'm I getting enough vitamins, or oxygen.

Mishapup89 answered...

If your mother is over 60, I would be very concerned about the amitriptyline 50mg. I tends to not do good things to the elderly patient. Is she using this for sleep. Please have her reevaluated.

A fellow caregiver answered...

I agree amitriptyline(elavil) should only be taken at night. It is an old drug now used for chronic pain or migraines. If she is taking it for depresssion I would use another drug. I would also change the Lipitor to bedtime. This is the recommended time. I can't see any problem with taking the rest of the meds in the AM. The eplorenone is a potassium sparing diuretic. I'm sure her doctor has ordered BMP lab at least every 4-6-months. I'm sure you take her blood sugar at least every AM and that she has a bedtime snack or glucerna. I would buy a wrist blood pressure machine (Walmart/Costco) and monitor her blood pressure/heart rate. If it is too low or high then you have something to discuss with your doctor. Unfortunately all the cardiac meds have dizzy as a side effect. Best of luck!!

A fellow caregiver answered...

Also check for over the counter medications that she might be taking to see if there are any related side effects listed on the label - it's common to forget that "safe" over the counter meds can cause a problem for some individuals ad/or when taken with another medication. There are web sites that allow you to list all meds a person is taking and they then provide a summary of all potential negative interactions and/or side effects for each medication. Do a search for "medication interactions" or "medication side effects" and you'll get a list of sites - some are more detailed than others or easier to use, so you might try more than one to get what you want.

Sandikat answered...

Mustangsally91 has her head on straight. We need more nurses like this. I am also concerned about the amount of pharmaceuticals your Mom is on. There are so many side effects to all of them, and I don't think they are as rare as the docs may say. The side effects are also cumulative, and the older she gets, the more likely she is to suffer more side effects. Older people don't metabolize as well as someone younger, so even if she tolerated them before, she may not always be able too. You may find the doc will just tell you what she is experiencing is aging. Aging isn't a disease. Please don't let them brush you off. Ask for a consultation with a pharmacist. Many of them are much more open minded than you think even though they sell drugs for a living. If you don't like your pharmacist, find another one. I find them to be a very helpful resource. You can ask for printouts from them for the individual meds, and also a printout for interactions for what she is taking. But first do your research so you know what questions to ask. Go to WebMD and go to each drug, then find the link to the questions and responses. Some drugs have hundreds of people asking questions, and reporting their experiences (good and bad) for the drugs. It can be very eye opening. It's scary to see how much of this stuff the elderly are taking. A lot of problems can be addressed with natural substances, and the drugs should be saved for the things that don't respond naturally. For example, cinnamon can help with blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Magnesium is good for blood pressure, pain (it relaxes muscles) the heart.... Nattokinase, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and numerous herbs are good for circulation. If your Mom continues to take Lipitor, be sure to get her on CoQ10. Lipitor does block cholesterol, but it also blocks a vital nutrient required for muscle energy (including the heart) and that is CoQ10.
But please don't stop her stuff without guidance.
If she can afford it, find her a good naturepath who knows about both the drugs and suppliments, and can help you sort out how to safely replace some of them.
I successfully got my 92 year old Mother off of all her meds (except thyroid) (she was on about 8 of them), and her vitals are so much better than when on drugs. Unfortunately, she was on the drugs too long, and she suffers from drug induced dementia. I hope you find the answers you seek. Good luck!