These drugs can make driving dangerous, the FDA warns

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It’s common knowledge that drinking and driving don’t mix, but should you get behind the wheel after taking a pill?

It depends on the type of medicineaccording to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While most medications are safe to take while driving, some can cause side effects that may interfere with the ability to operate a vehicle or heavy machinery, the agency warned in an advisory on its website.

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These side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred visionfainting, lack of coordination, nausea, inability to focus or pay attention and excitability, the FDA noted.

“Some medications may affect your driving for a short period of time after you take them,” the warning said. “For others, the effects can last several hours and even the next day.”

Some medications can cause side effects that may interfere with your ability to operate a vehicle, the FDA warned. (iStock)

Some medications come with a warning not to drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery for a certain period of time after taking them.

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“Many different types of medications, including antipsychotics, antiepileptic drugs, stimulants, muscle relaxants, opioids, benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, some antidepressantsand even over-the-counter medications like antihistamines can cause side effects that affect mental and motor functions, such as fatigue, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, delayed reaction times, and visual impairment,” Katy Dubinsky , a New York pharmacist and CEO and co-founder of Vitalize, a privately held supplement company, told Fox News Digital.

“These side effects significantly reduce alertness and clear vision, which are crucial for driving and performing everyday tasks safely,” he added.

pain medication

Some medications come with a warning not to drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery for a certain period of time after taking them. (iStock)

Dr. Shana Johnson, doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation in Scottsdale, Arizonahe noted that central nervous system depressants can be especially dangerous to drive because these drugs exert their effects by calming the brain.

“Side effects associated with this pain reliever include drowsiness, loss of focus and blurred thinking,” he told Fox News Digital.

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“Common examples of this class are drugs for muscle spasms (muscle relaxants), pain (opioids), seizures (anti-seizure drugs), and anxiety (benzodiazepines).”

Two other classes of medications that have sedative effects are the antihistamines that are used allergy control and anticholinergics used for bladder control and chronic pain, Johnson added.

Medications that do not interfere with driving

The FDA website includes the following list of medications that can make it dangerous to drive.

  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Anticonvulsant drugs (antiepileptic drugs)
  • Diet pills, wake-up drugs, and other stimulants, such as caffeine, ephedrine, and pseudoephedrine
  • Medicines that treat or control the symptoms of diarrhea and urine or bladder control
  • Medicines that treat or prevent the symptoms of dizziness
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Opioids, including some cough suppressants that contain codeine and hydrocodone
  • Prescription medications for anxiety (eg, benzodiazepines)
  • Sleeping pills
  • Some antidepressants
  • Some over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription cold remedies and allergy medications that contain antihistamines, night sleeping pills, or cough medicines
  • Products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including CBD
Man driving asleep

Some side effects of the medication may include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, fainting, lack of coordination, nausea, inability to focus or pay attention, and excitability, the FDA noted. (iStock)

prey sleeping medication at night can sometimes lead to impaired driving the next day, the FDA warned.

“If you take medication for sleep, talk to your health care professional about ways to take the lowest effective dose, when to take the medication at bedtime, and when it would be safe to drive again after taking a sleep medication sleep,” the agency advised.

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Allergy medications may contain antihistamines that may also impair driving ability, the FDA added.

“Antihistamines can slow your reaction time, make it harder to concentrate or think clearly, and can cause mild confusion even if you don’t feel drowsy.”

Cropped image of young woman holding glass of water and pills in hands

A doctor tells patients to try a new medication when they don’t plan to drive so they can see how it affects them and possibly avoid any dangerous situations. (iStock)

Johnson said the impact of medications on driving ability can vary from person to person.

“One person may not feel drowsy on an antihistamine, while another may feel drowsy throughout the day,” he told Fox News Digital.

“Seeing how a drug affects you is important to know before you drive on it.”

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In his practice, Johnson said he tells his patients to try a new drug when they don’t plan to drive so they can see how it affects them and avoid a dangerous situation.

“The risk that the drugs will make it difficult to drive increases if you take several drugs with sedative side effects and with older adults“, added.

Prevention of impaired driving

For those who are taking medication, it is recommended to consult a health professional for guidance related to driving.

For over-the-counter drugs, the agency recommends always following the directions for use and reading the warnings on the drug data label.

Man to the doctor

For those taking medication, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for guidance related to driving. (iStock)

For prescription drugs, the agency recommends following the directions and warnings on the packaging, as well as reading the FDA-approved labeling.

“Your healthcare professional it might change your dose, adjust when you take the drug, or change the drug to one that causes you fewer side effects,” the FDA said.

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It is also important to tell your doctor about any other medicines, vitamins or supplements you are taking, as they may affect any side effects.

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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