Which prescription drugs can cause impairment?

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, antidepressants, opioids and other prescription drugs may cause impairment. You should take precautions when you do not know how a prescription drug will affect you. Additionally, it isn’t wise to mix prescription drugs with alcohol, which can result in impairment beyond the effects of the alcohol.


Which commonly used over-the-counter medications can adversely affect driving?

  • Sleep aides, cold, allergy and other over-the-counter-medications can cause drowsiness, nausea, blurred vision and other side effects that can put everyone on Coloradao’s roads and highways at risk, the NHTSA says.


Can sleep aides impair your driving the morning after taking the medication?

  • Yes, they can affect your ability to drive the morning after taking the medication. According to the Food and Drug Administration, medications containing zolpidem, especially extended release forms, can impair driving ability and other activities the next morning. You may be more familiar with these medications that contain zolpidem:
    • Ambien and Ambien CR (oral tablet)
    • Edluar (tablet placed under the tongue)
    • Intermezzo (tablet placed under the tongue)
    • Zolpimist (oral spray)
  • Don’t assume that over-the-counter sleep aides are necessarily safer alternatives, the FDA said. The FDA is evaluating the risk of next-day impairment with other insomnia drugs.


What are some tips to avoid driving impaired?

  • You can still drive safely while taking most medications, but you should always talk with a trusted health care professional. Your health care provider will be able to give recommendations and may be able to lower the dosage. Other tips from the FDA include:
    • Always follow directions for use and read warnings on medication packaging, or handouts provided by the pharmacy.
    • Don’t stop using your medicine unless your prescriber tells you to.
    • Tell your health care provider about all the products you are taking, including prescription, OTC, and herbal products. Also, let them know about any reactions you experience.