Over The Counter Medicines May Impair Driving

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With so many over the counter medications (OTC) on the market, it is hard to remember that some of these medicines may affect one's ability to drive. Several well known medicines may cause drowsiness, delay reaction times and impair motor skills. Over the counter medications are drugs that can be obtained without a doctor's prescription. According to the FDA, drug manufacturers are required to mark side effects on the labels, but many people are unaware of how dangerous they might be.

Over The Counter Drugs Which May Affect Driving

  • Antihistamines:  Medicines which are used to treat symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, itching of the nose or throat, and itchy or watery eyes. Some antihistamines are used for common cold symptoms.
  • Antidiarrheals: Medicines which treat or control symptoms of diarrhea, such as Imodium.
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)/Analgesics: Medicines for pain and reducing inflammation. 
  • Anti-emetics: Medicines which treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness associated with motion sickness.
  • Cold medicines/Cough suppressants: Medicines that treat and reduce coughing.  

According to the FDA, “You can feel the effects some OTC medicines can have on your driving for a short time after you take them, or their effects can last for several hours. In some cases, a medicine can cause significant ‘hangover-like’ effects and affect your driving even the next day.”

Many drugs also  come with a warning to not consume alcohol while taking the medications. This is because the addition of alcohol can increase the chances of slowing motor skills and decreasing reaction times. 

Consumers are encouraged to ask questions and consult a doctor or pharmacist if they are unsure how a new medication will effect them. Giving the medicine time to kick in can also avoid any accidents happening if driving is required after consumption. Before taking any medicine, it is important to always read the Drug Facts. Many medicines are labeled "may cause drowsiness" and "do not take while operating machinery". Also, knowing how medications mix can help lessen the chance of impaired driving abilities. 

Michigan drivers should be aware that a lot of the products containing sedating antihistamines and drugs that are well known to cause drowsiness are only recommended for night time use as they help people to sleep.  

If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident with an impaired driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our accident lawyers are here to help you with questions about insurance problems, medical expenses, and pain and suffering benefits as allowed by Michigan law. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.