Be sure your medicines don’t make you unfit to drive

It's risky to drive if you're not sure how your medicines will affect you.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are today warning it's risky to drive without fully appreciating the effects prescription and over-the-counter remedies can have on the body and your ability to drive.

With hay fever season nearly upon us we are drawing drivers’ attention to the help that pharmacists can offer to keep you safe on the road.
President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Martin Astbury, explains:  
"Even though a medicine is legal, it could still have potentially dangerous side effects. It’s not just illegal drugs that can change your behaviour behind the wheel.  Common over the counter medicines can also make you unfit to drive.
“Medicines affect everyone differently depending on a number of factors, including the nature of the ingredient, the dose and natural differences between individuals in the way the body metabolises drugs.  Now that it’s coming into hay fever season, be careful if you are driving and taking antihistamines to relieve itchy eyes or a runny nose.  Common side effects of some antihistamines include drowsiness, blurred vision and a reduction in concentration levels, any of which can make you unsafe on the road.”  
DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Lesley Young, said:
“DVSA’s first priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving. Medications can affect a motorist’s ability to drive safely, and we would urge all drivers to be fully aware of how their medicines could affect them. This is true of both prescription medications and of products sold over the counter. The more medications a driver takes, the greater the chance their driving will be affected.
“If you are in any doubt, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist.”
RPS has a resource on drug driving for pharmacists to support you in giving advice to patients.