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Medications that may impair memory and clear thinking

Many of the medications that are used to help manage chronic pain can impair your memory and ability to think clearly.

  • Opioid pain medications commonly impair memory, judgment, and cognition (‘brain fog’).
  • Marijuana (in any form) affects memory in the short-term and may have long term effects (this is still being studied).

These include:

  • Opioid medications, such as fentanyl, Tylenol # 3TM, tramadol
  • Anti-depressant medications such as amitriptyline
  • Anti-anxiety drugs, like ValiumTM or AtivanTM
  • Sleeping pills (like AmbienTM, BenadrylTM)
  • Medical marijuana
  • Medications used to treat muscle spasms

Other drugs that can affect your memory or clear thinking are:

  • allergy medications (antihistamines)
  • cold medicines

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about adjusting your medications to help you. These may include:

  • Lowering the dose
  • Switching to a different product
  • Changing when you take it or how often you take it
  • Avoiding taking these drugs in combination with other medications (even non-prescription drugs) or alcohol