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Medication and Driving

Why drivers need to proceed with caution when taking prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs

Most drivers are unaware of the potentially dangerous impact medications can have on their driving performance.

Taking prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements can cause impairments, such as drowsiness, dizziness, sleepiness and blurred vision.

Understand the medication you're on — and talk to your doctor

You need to be aware of the side effects of your medications, whether you're taking prescription or over-the-counter meds, and of their potential impact on your driving. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss your medications and driving activity to see if any changes should to be made to your dosage or prescriptions. Be sure to tell your health care provider about all the drugs and supplements you're taking. Ask if any medications, or combination of them, should limit or stop you from driving because of side effects.

Request printed information about your medications

At the pharmacy, ask for written materials detailing the side effects of any new medication you're taking. If you purchase your medications by mail, mail-order pharmacies have toll-free numbers you can call for questions about your medications.

Create a Personal Medication Record

The best way to track your drugs and help your doctor and pharmacist have the most updated information is to create a Personal Medication Record. Keeping a complete and centralized record allows you to list all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, the doses, and how you take them. Bring your updated personal record to all of your appointments, and even provide a copy to the pharmacies you use.

Observe your reactions

Take note of how your body feels and reacts to various drugs and supplements you may be taking. Keep track of how you feel after taking the medication, noting the time you took it, and be aware of any symptoms you may be feeling. If you feel dizzy, drowsy or experience blurred vision, let your doctor and pharmacist know. Such reactions will  clearly impact your driving.

Also of interest: Medications older adults should use with caution.

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