Driving taking meds low by FDADocs


									Driving when you are taking                         Medicines include medications that your doctor      Can I still drive safely if I am                    Ask your doctor if you should drive —
medications.                                        prescribes and over-the-counter medications         taking medications?                                 especially when you first take a medication.
                                                    that you buy without a doctor’s prescription.                                                           Using a new medicine can cause you to react in
For most people, driving represents freedom,        Many individuals also take herbal supplements.      Yes, most people can drive safely if they are       a number of ways. It is recommended that you
control and independence. Driving enables           Some of these medicines and supplements may         using medications. It depends on the effect         do not drive when you first start using a new
most people to get to the places they want or       cause a variety of reactions that may make it       those medicines – both prescription and over-       medicine until you know how that drug affects
need to go. For many people, driving is             more difficult for you to drive a car safely.       the-counter – have on your driving. In some         you. You also need to be aware that some over-
important economically – some drive as part of      These reactions may include:                        cases you may not be aware of the effects. But,     the-counter medicines and herbal supplements
their job or to get to and from work.                                                                   in many instances, your doctor can help to          can make it difficult for you to drive safely.
                                                      ◆   sleepiness                                    minimize the negative impact of your medicines
Driving is a complex skill. Our ability to drive      ◆   blurred vision                                on your driving in several ways. Your doctor        Talk to your pharmacist.
safely can be affected by changes in our              ◆   dizziness                                     may be able to:                                     Get to know your pharmacist. Ask the
physical, emotional and mental condition. The         ◆   slowed movement                                                                                   pharmacist to go over your medicines with you
goal of this brochure is to help you and your
                                                      ◆   fainting                                        ◆ Adjust the dose;
                                                      ◆                                                                                                     and to remind you of effects they may have on
health care professional talk about how your
                                                          inability to focus or pay attention             ◆ Adjust the timing of doses or when you
                                                      ◆   nausea                                                                                            your ability to drive safely. Be sure to request
                                                                                                              use the medicine;
medicine may affect your ability to drive safely.                                                         ◆ Add an exercise or nutrition program to         printed information about the side effects of
                                                    Often people use more than one medicine at a            lessen the need for medicine; and               any new medicine. Remind your pharmacist of
How can medications affect                          time. The combination of different medicines          ◆ Change the medicine to one that causes          other medicines and herbal supplements you
my driving?                                         can cause problems for some people. This is             less drowsiness.                                are using. Pharmacists are available to answer
                                                    especially true for older adults because they use                                                       questions wherever you get your medicine.
People use medicines for a variety of reasons,                                                          What can I do if I am taking                        Many people buy medicines by mail. Mail-
including:                                          more medicines than any other age group. Due
                                                                                                        medications?                                        order pharmacies have a toll-free number you
                                                    to changes in the body as people age, older
                                                                                                                                                            can call and a pharmacist available to answer
  ◆   allergies                                     adults are more prone to medicine related           Talk to your doctor honestly.
                                                                                                                                                            your questions.
  ◆   anxiety                                       problems. The more medicines you use, the           When your doctor prescribes a medicine for
  ◆   cold                                          greater your risk that your medicines will affect   you, ask about side effects. How should you
  ◆   depression
                                                    your ability to drive safely. To help avoid         expect the medicine to affect your ability to
                                                                                                                                                            Monitor yourself.
  ◆   diabetes
                                                                                                        drive? Remind your doctor of other medicines
                                                                                                                                                            Learn to know how your body reacts to the
  ◆   heart and cholesterol conditions              problems, it is important that at least once a                                                          medicine and supplements. Keep track of how
  ◆   high blood pressure                           year you talk to your doctor, nurse, or             – both prescription and over-the-counter – and
                                                                                                                                                            you feel after you use the medicine. For
  ◆   muscle spasms                                 pharmacist about all the medicines – both           herbal supplements you are using, especially if
                                                                                                                                                            example, do you feel sleepy? Is your vision
  ◆   pain                                          prescription and over-the-counter – you are         you see more than one doctor. Talking honestly
                                                                                                                                                            blurry? Do you feel weak and slow? When do
  ◆   Parkinson’s disease                           using. Also let your doctor know what herbal        with your doctor also means telling the doctor
                                                                                                                                                            these things happen?
  ◆   schizophrenia                                 supplements, if any, you are using. Do this even    if you are not using all or any of the prescribed
                                                    if your medicines and supplements are not           medicines. Do not stop using your medicine
                                                    currently causing you a problem.                    unless your doctor tells you to.
Let your doctor and pharmacist know what           Who can I call for help with                             You also can get a copy of the “Age Page
is happening.                                      transportation?                                          On Older Drivers” from the National
No matter what your reaction is to using a                                                                  Institute on Aging by calling
medicine – good or bad – tell your doctor and           Call the ElderCare Locator at                       1-800-222-2225, or by going to their
pharmacist. Both prescription and over-the-             1-800-677-1116 and ask for the phone                website at www.niapublications.org/
counter medicines are powerful—that’s why               number of your local Office on Aging, or
                                                                                                      Wear your safety belt
they work. Each person is unique. Two people
may respond differently to the same medicine.
                                                        go to their website at www.eldercare.gov.
                                                                                                      Always wear your safety belt when you are
If you are experiencing side effects, the doctor
needs to know that in order to adjust your
                                                        Contact your regional transit authority
                                                        to find out which bus or train to take.
                                                                                                      driving or riding in a car. Make sure that every
                                                                                                      person who is riding with you also is buckled
medicine. Your doctor can help you find a
medicine that works best for you.                       Easter Seals Project ACTION
                                                                                                      up. Wear your safety belt even if your car has
                                                                                                      air bags.
                                                                                                                                                                              You Are Taking
                                                        (Accessible Community Transportation
                                                        In Our Nation) can direct you to
What if I have to cut back or
give up driving?                                        transportation resources near you.
                                                        Call 1-800-659-6428 or visit online at
You can keep your independence even if you              www.projectaction.org.
have to cut back or give up on your driving due
to your need to use a medicine. It may take        Where do I find out more
planning ahead on your part, but it will get you   about medications?
to the places you want to go and the people
                                                   Your first step is to talk with your health care
you want to see. Consider:
                                                   professional. You also can contact the:
  ◆   rides with family and friends;
  ◆   taxi cabs;                                    ◆ U.S. Food and Drug Administration at
  ◆   shuttle buses or vans;                            1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332)
  ◆   public buses, trains and subways; and             or visit online at www.fda.gov/cder
  ◆   walking.
                                                                                                                                        V I CES •
Also, senior centers, religious, and other local
                                                                                                                             AN                          A

                                                                                                             HEALTH &
service groups often offer transportation
services for older adults in the community.

                                                                                                                                  DE P AR
                                                                                                                                                             Food and Drug
                                                                                                          U.S. Department of Health
                                                                                                          and Human Services

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