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.
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
Steve is the Managing Shareholder of Steven J. Klearman & Associates, a civil litigation law firm located in Reno, Nevada. He practices primarily in the areas of civil litigation and injury law, and has authored one of the definitive guides to Nevada civil law that is widely used by Nevada judges and attorneys, his book entitled Elements of Nevada Legal Theories.