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    Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are intended to keep us healthy. In the wrong cir­cumstances – especially when we are behind the wheel of a vehicle – our drugs could contribute to our early demise. To be sure your medi­cations don’t abuse you, remember:

· It is your responsibility to know what you’re taking and how it affects you. If you have a question, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

· Bodies are different and every­one will not react the same to medications. Furthermore, a drug can affect one person differently in dif­ferent situations.

· Don’t mix medications, or mix any kind of drug with alcohol, until you have consulted with your doctor or pharmacist.

· Try to use only one pharmacy.

· The problem with some drugs, such as cough medicines, is that they have a high alcohol content. Read the literature you get with any drug to determine whether it con­tains sedatives or alcohol.

Driving Alert

     Even at recommended doses, OTC drugs can affect driving ability as much, or in some cases, even more than illegal drugs, pre­scription drugs, or alcohol.

· Antihistamines are the principal culprit, according to the Southern California Research Institute. They can cause drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision.

· Sleeping pills and night-time cold medications can also impair drivers. Obviously, a medication intended to help you sleep is not going to make you a good driver.

· Ibuprofen, a commonly used pain reliever, can reduce concentra­tion levels and cause drowsiness.

· If you’re taking a medication for the first time, don’t plan on driving after you take that first dose. Wait to see how it affects you.n

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