Many people in Texas are taking at least one type of over-the-counter or prescription medication, whether for an acute problem or a chronic health issue. What some do not realize is that there are numerous medications that negatively affect one’s ability to drive or operate machinery. If someone drives under the influence of these drugs, not only does this increase the chances of accidents, but it can also result in a DUI.

Almost everyone knows that driving after drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs is against the law, but there are other legal substances that effect driving ability. Medscape outlines some of the classes of prescription drugs that drivers should not mix with operating a vehicle. These include opioid pain killers, CNS stimulants, antidepressants, antiparkinsonian agents, muscle relaxants, antiepileptic drugs and sedative-hypnotics.

The list is not inclusive to doctor-prescribed meds. Some of the OTC medication that can impair driving includes:

  • NSAIDS
  • Antihistamines
  • Cough suppressants 

The use of alcohol enhances the effects of these meds, which makes them even more dangerous. The FDA discusses how medication can affect driving. Depending on the specific drug, side effects may include:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting 

Older adults tend to have more driving impairments because they often take multiple medications, and these combinations can be problematic. Everyone who takes any sort of medication should read the labels and inserts carefully as well as talk to their doctor about side effects. If driving is an issue, doctors may help by adjusting the dosage or timing, prescribing an alternative or designing a nutrition program.