Could you be guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) and not know it? If you are taking certain prescription medications and some over-the-counter remedies it is possible.
Many allergy medications may actual impair your reaction times and judgment worst than alcohol.
With alcohol in your system you are usually aware that you are feeling the effects. Some medications treat your symptoms and make you feel better initially but slow your concentration or reaction times. Some medications may make you dizzy or weak without warning and it only takes a second of inattention behind the wheel to result in an accident.
Look at that fine print on the back of most over-the-counter cold and allergy medications. Just above the dosage listing is a warning that reads, “May cause drowsiness.” Of course you don’t notice any drowsiness taking it just before you head out the door and slip behind the wheel, but if drowsiness does occur as you are merging into rush hour traffic that warning was too little and too late.
You rightly expect potential drowsiness or dizziness with narcotics, pain medications or even some cold/ allergy combinations but there are many medications taken for chronic medical conditions that hinder you ability to safely function behind the wheel.
What Medications have the potential to impair your driving?
In addition to pain medications and cold/allergy medications commonly prescribed medications taken to treat anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes, and non-narcotic cough medications all have the potential to lower your blood pressure or blood sugar causing dizziness, weakness and fatigue.
Medications and even dietary supplements can also interact unexpectedly and without warning in some people.
According to information on the Dr Oz Show website and shared on today’s television program, the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident while under the influence of some prescription or over-the-counter medication is between two to seven and a half times greater than those not taking medications.
Some examples of medications that may make driving dangerous include:
• Antidepressants/ antianxiety medications
• ‘Nerve pills’
• Drugs for Parkinson’s disease
• Muscle relaxers
• Arthritis medications
• High blood pressure medications
• Antihistamines (both oral and eye drops)
• Cough suppressants
• Blood thinners
• Antiarrythmia medications
• Diabetes medications (both oral and insulin)
• Acid reducers (prescription or over-the-counter)
• As well as medication taken for monthly cramps or diarrhea
Medications not mentioned on this list may also cause problems if taken incorrectly or in combination with other drugs or medications.
To be safe always ask your doctor or pharmacist about driving while taking medications.
Be sure you know how your body reacts when adding any new medications before you get behind the wheel. Knowledge is power. In this case the power to keep yourself safe behind the wheel.
Medications and Driving. (n.d.) The Unofficial DMV Guide-online, Retrieved from http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/medications-and-driving.php
Medications: The New DUI (October 2010) The Dr Oz Show-online, Retrieved from http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/medications-new-dui