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Prescription or over-the-counter drugs

You might think that your prescription medicine that is prescribed by your doctor would be safe and okay to take anytime, even after the expiration date, but it is not the case; prescription medicines can be dangerous to your health and have many adverse side effects including impairing your ability to drive.

prescription drugs warning label

You might think that it is okay to take any over-the-counter medicines without consulting your doctor, and it is okay to take them and drive afterward. But you should know that any over-the-counter medicine can be dangerous to your health and have adverse side effects on your health and ability to drive an automobile.

It is important to know that some prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs can impair your driving ability.
Also, taking different drugs together or taking alcohol and drugs can create adverse health side effects and dangerous situation for driving.

The law requires you to make sure that you have the ability to drive without any impairment from drugs or alcohol or the combination of the two before getting behind the wheel.

Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about all of the drugs that you are taking (prescription medications or over-the-counter medicines) and whether you can drive after taking a particular medicine.

It is always recommended to ask your doctor before taking any over-counter-medicine, especially if you are pregnant, nursing a baby or having any health condition.

If you do not have any conditions that limit you from taking over-the-counter medicine, follow these steps before taking over-the-counter medicine and driving:

  • Read the "Active Ingredients" section of the medicine and compare it to all the other medicines you are taking to ensure you are not taking the same active ingredient in multiple medicines. Overdosing on a certain drug substance can have an adverse effect and even can be fatal.
  • Read the "Purpose/Uses" section of the medicine to make sure that the drug is for treating the condition that you are trying to treat.
  • Read the "Warning" section of the medicine.  This section warns you against taking this drug if you have a certain health condition or if you are pregnant or nursing a baby.  Be careful and do not take this medicine if you have a health condition, or you are pregnant or nursing a baby and the warning label warns against taking the drug when having those conditions.
  • Read the area under the Warning section that says, "When using this product…". This section warns about how the medicine may affect you and its effects if you have had alcohol or other medications.  Pay attention to warning labels about causing drowsiness or becoming an impaired driver, and side effects of taking alcohol and other medication such as:
    • Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.
    • Do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery when using this product.
    • You may get drowsy.
    • Drowsiness will occur.
    • Avoid alcoholic drinks.
    • Alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness.

When you see any of the warning statements about making you drowsy or warning against driving, you should not drive after taking that medicine.
If you must drive, select another medicine that does not impair or affect your ability to drive.