Driving and Over the Counter Medications

Driving and Over the Counter Medications

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Driving and Over-the-Counter Medications.

Safety for Over the Counter Medications

Driving and Over the Counter MedicationsWhen most people think of over the counter medications, they think they are safe. It would seem to be common sense that a medication that is sold in nearly every store would be totally safe for use. While most will realize you should not drive after taking a night time medication, many do not realize that day time medications such as cold medications, can also alter your ability to function properly. In fact, each over the counter medication has a drug fact area on it that reminds you of the possible side effects of operating machinery. Including cars, if taking that particular brand. It may seem odd to say, but OTC medications are serious and their risks can increase if not used exactly as indicated on the label.

In some cases, the medication effects may only be short term, lasting an hour or two. However, for some the effects can last for hours or even into the next day as a hangover type effect. These effects can impair not only your driving ability, but vision and decision making processes. These are all important to driving safely. So how do you know what is safe? Read on to learn more.

Choosing Safely

While you should always read the drug facts section of an OTC medication, it is doubly important when you know you have to drive. If you see a statement about ‘marked drowsiness’ or even the warning not to ‘operate heavy machinery or vehicles’, take head. Another area of information you may want to look for is the effects of mixing that particular medication with other medications. Further OTC medications, or even alcohol as these can cause a reaction or intensify the effects.

Another concern, not just with driving, but in general is the abuse of OCT medication. Cough medicines, cold medicines, motion sickness pills, and even acetaminophen can be abused if taken incorrectly. These common medications can create a euphoric high or even hallucinations if abused. The worst part is, these are often found in your home medicine cabinet. Some side effects of abuse include blurred vision, shakiness, and rapid heart rate. This is part of the reason that no one should drive when using these, even if used correctly. Imagine taking a dose a bit too soon and having side effects such as these. It is obvious your ability to drive would be impaired.

Getting Help and Staying Safe

Given how easy it is to purchase and abuse over the counter medications, it is also easy to become addicted. If you or a loved one has a problem with over the counter medications then seek help. One place that can offer help with any addiction is DARA. Even if you do not have a problem, make sure you read directions and drug facts carefully. Even something completely legal such as cold medication can have negative effects if not used properly. Your life and the lives of others on the roadways is much more important than taking a simple pill for a cold. Make your decisions wisely.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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