8 Tips for Driving Responsibly While Taking Medication

Christina Lasich, MD | March 30, 2012

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Do: Assume that any medications can impair driving

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Endangering the lives of other drivers is simply not an option; assume that medication impairs abilities unless proven otherwise.  Consult with a doctor or pharmacist before attempting to operate a vehicle while under the influence of a prescription drug.

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Do: Ask your doctor about potential side effects

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It is important to ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects or drug interactions that might impair your driving ability.  It might not be one drug that impairs your abilities; it could be an unforeseen combination.

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Do: Refrain from driving immediately after a medication change

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It is wise to allow for you to get used to a change in medication before attempting to operate a vehicle.  In many cases, a patient should wait a few days to understand how the medication hits the body before driving.

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Do: Be responsible

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This seems simple, though it may be ignored by some patients.  Be responsible with medications; understand limitations and avoid operating a vehicle in questionable situations.

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Don't: Drive immediately after taking a new medication

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A medication change requires a period for you to understand how you react to the medication.  Allow your body time to adjust and understand the effects before operating a vehicle.

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Don't: Drive immediately after starting a new dosage

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An increased dosage or change in prescription, even with a drug that a patient assumes they are familiar with, can impair abilities.  Don’t take the chance; understand your body’s reaction before getting in a vehicle.

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Don't: Drive if feeling impaired

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A patient should avoid getting behind the wheel of a vehicle if feeling drowsy, dizzy, cloudy, foggy, confused, or otherwise impaired.  Don’t endanger those around you by taking such a risk.

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Don't: Be Careless

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By knowing the laws and acting responsibly, those who take medications can drive safely.  There is no reason to assume that the medication does not impair abilities and find oneself in a dangerous position.