FDA Warns Side Effects of OTC Medications May Impair Driving

Over-the-Counter Drug Risks

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FDA Warns Side Effects of OTC Medications May Impair Driving

Consumers who take certain over-the-counter drugs may be at risk for drowsiness, as well as impaired driving and cognitive function.

Federal regulators are warning consumers nationwide about the potential for certain over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to impair their ability to drive or operate heavy machinery, notifying users of non-prescription medications that the drugs may cause signigicant drowsiness and impair their cognitive functioning. If you believe you have been adversely affected by side effects of a dangerous pharmaceutical drug, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by potentially defective prescription or over-the-counter medications, and can help put you in touch with a knowledgeable attorney who has experience handling drug injury claims.

Potential Side Effects of OTC Medications

The FDA issued the consumer report on October 7, indicating that non-prescription drugs like antihistamines, loperamide and diphenhydramine all contain ingredients that may affect users’ alertness and driving ability. The medications also have the potential to cause other debilitating side effects, such as slow reaction times and unfocused thinking. In light of this risk, health officials are warning consumers that side effects of over-the-counter medications can carry severe risks if they are not chosen carefully and used exactly as directed. “You can feel the effects some OTC medications can have on your driving for a short time after you take them, or their effects can last for several hours,” said Ali Mohamadi, M.D., a medical officer with the FDA. “In some cases, a medicine can cause significant ‘hangover-like’ effects and affect your driving even the next day.”

Non-Prescription Drugs May Cause Drowsiness

One class of OTC drugs included in the FDA report are antihistamines, which are found in many popular cold and flu medications commonly used to treat sneezing, an itchy throat, watery eyes and a runny nose. According to the report, antihistamines are often added to the active ingredients in combination drugs to relieve pain and reduce fever, but typically cause drowsiness as a side effect. Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, was also noted in the FDA report, and can cause users to become unfocused and slow to react. Anti-emetics, which are commonly used to treat vomiting, nausea and dizziness, were also included in the report, due to their tendency to cause fatigue and sleepiness and impair driving.

Contact a Drug Injury Attorney Today

In its report, the FDA warns that each OTC medication features a “Drug Facts” label to help consumers make safe choices when it comes to taking non-prescription drugs. Officials with the agency recommend that consumers look for statements that say, “You may get drowsy,” “marked drowsiness will occur,” or “be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery,” all of which suggest that the medications may not be safe to take when driving. If you have been involved in a car accident or suffered serious injuries that you believe to be related to your use of a prescription or OTC medication, contact a reputable drug injury lawyer today to explore your possible compensation options. You may have grounds to file a product liability claim against the manufacturing company, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries.
[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” ]Source: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm417426.htm[/box]

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