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Tips for Driving Under the Influence

Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are intended to keep us healthy. In the wrong circumstances - especially when we are behind the wheel of a vehicle - our drugs could contribute to our early demise. To be sure your medications don't abuse you, please remember:

- It is your responsibility to know what you're taking and how it affects you. If you have a question, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

- Bodies are different and every­one will not react the same to medications. Furthermore, a drug can affect one person differently in dif­ferent situations.

- Don't mix medications, or mix any kind of drug with alcohol, until you have consulted with your doctor or pharmacist.

- Try to use only one pharmacy.

- The problem with some drugs, such as cough medicines, is that they have a high alcohol content. Read the literature you get with any drug to determine whether it con­tains sedatives or alcohol.

Driving Alert

Even at recommended doses, OTC drugs can affect driving ability as much, or in some cases, even more than illegal drugs, pre­scription drugs, or alcohol.

- Antihistamines are the principal culprit, according to the Southern California Research Institute. They can cause drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision.

- Sleeping pills and night-time cold medications can also impair drivers. Obviously, a medication intended to help you sleep is not going to make you a good driver.

- Ibuprofen, a commonly used pain reliever, can reduce concentra­tion levels and cause drowsiness.

- If you're taking a medication for the first time, don't plan on driving after you take that first dose. Wait to see how it affects you. 

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