Last Spring, CBS 60 Minutes, highlighted the fact that a popular prescription sleeping pill, Ambien, was causing next morning impaired driving in women.    This finding eventually resulted in the FDA halving the recommented dosage for women on the label.  Had the drug been well studied in both sexes, this difference would have been noted earlier in the discovery process with less adverse effects reported.  Now, there are steps being taken at the NIH and FDA to ensure both sexes are adequately included in drug and devices studies.

What about other drugs, especially those that are available over the counter?  Can they affect your driving?  It is important that you read the DRUG FACTS that come with the OTC medication especially the "active ingredient"  and the "warning" sections.   The "when using this product" section will include warnings about drowsiness or impaired driving.

Some of the most common OTC drugs that can cause drowsiness and impair driving include:

  • Antihistamines (used to treat cold symptoms, congestion, allergic symptoms)
  • Antidiarrheals (e.g. Imodium)
  • Anti-emetics (used to treat nausea, motion sickness, etc).

Source:  Food & Drug Administration



Thank you Sharon for bringing up very important information. Many people do not realize that there are many OTC and prescription medications that should not be taken before driving. As a pharmacist, I usually recommend that these medications are taken at home when the patient knows that they do not have to go anywhere. You never know, but is it better to be safe than sorry. Every patient is different. It's best that the patients sees for themselves how the drug will affect them. Patients, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Stay safe! Sincerely, Renata Basis