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FDA warns consumers about driving and taking certain medications

The agency says unexpected side effects can put drivers in danger

Photo (c) mesteban75 - Getty Images
While many physicians will warn consumers about potentially dangerous side effects that could come from taking medication, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is putting out its own warning to consumers to ensure safety on the roads. 

The agency is urging consumers to carefully check their medication before getting behind the wheel, as some drugs can stay in the system longer than anticipated, or come with some unexpected side effects. 

“To manage or minimize side effects while driving, your healthcare provider may be able to adjust your dose, adjust the timing of when you take the medicine, or change the medicine to one that causes fewer side effects for you,” the agency wrote

Things to look out for

Though the agency has listed several types of prescription medications that could interfere with consumers’ driving ability, something more common and available over the counter could also impact consumers on the road. 

Allergy pills can lead to drowsiness and sometimes affect reaction time, so it’s imperative that consumers avoid mixing alcohol with these drugs; consumers should read the back of the box for these products to ensure that driving is safe. 

The FDA pays particular attention to sleeping pills in their report, as the drugs are designed to help consumers sleep peacefully through the night; however, the effects of the pills could linger in the body well past morning. The FDA not only wants to highlight this concern to those who take sleeping pills, but it also encourages healthcare practitioners to work with their patients to find the lowest possible dosage to mitigate any potential risk. 

Ultimately, the FDA doesn’t want consumers to think they should avoid their cars, boats, motorcycles, or any other types of heavy machinery while taking medication. However, it does want to call attention to the potential dangers of doing so, and it encourages consumers to do everything in their power to stay safe behind the wheel. 

Doctors and pharmacists are great resources for consumers who have questions about their medications, and patients can always ask their doctors about possibly lowering their dose to reduce any potential side effects. 

Additionally, consumers should always be upfront with medical personnel about any and all drugs they’re taking and never stop taking prescription medications without first consulting their doctors. 

To see the full list of tips from the FDA, click here

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