The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a reminder to consumers that over-the-counter medicines may affect their driving.
These are the garden variety sort of medications that you can buy without a prescription from a doctor. Since they don't require a prescription, it is all too easy for consumers to forget that over-the-counter medicines are serious medicines and have risks. Risks that anyone who operates a vehicle of any sort--car, bus, train, plane or boat--needs to know about.
According to Ali Mohamadi, M.D., a medical officer at 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 several hours. In some cases, a medicine can cause significant 'hangover-like' effects and affect your driving even the next day".
Here are some of the most common OTC medicines that can cause drowsiness or impaired driving:
- Antihistamines: These are medicines that are used to treat runny nose, sneezing, itching of the nose or throat, and itchy or watery eyes. Some antihistamines are marketed to relieve cough due to the common cold. Some are marketed to relieve occasional sleeplessness. Antihistamines also can be added to other active ingredients that relieve cough, reduce nasal congestion, or reduce pain and fever. Some antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can make you feel drowsy, unfocused and slow to react.
-Antidiarrheals: Some antidiarrheals, medicines that treat or control symptoms of diarrhea, can cause drowsiness and affect your driving. One of these is Ioperamide, the active ingredient in Imodium.
-Anti-emetics: Anti-emetics, medicines that treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness associated with motion sickness, can cause drowsiness and impair driving as well.
The FDA cautions consumers to read all medicine labels and to choose and use over-the-counter medicines carefully so you do not risk your safety or the safety of your passengers and others.
If you were injured in an automobile accident that you believe was caused by an impaired driver, please contact Marsh, Rickard & Bryan for help.