In recent years, if American medicine has taught us anything, it’s that there is a pill for everything. Can’t fall asleep At night? Try this one. Can’t seem to get enough done during the day? Give this one a shot.
The media airways are inundated with snake oil pitching. Underneath a beautiful montage of happy people doing happy things, there is the rapid-fire delivery of the price you might pay for this miracle cure…
- Breathing difficulties
- Increased heart rate
- Decreased heart rate
- Inability to find car keys
- Uncontrollable flatulence
- Fatal diarrhea
After hearing these commercials, I wonder how many people choose not to take the medicine preferring to deal with the problem they have rather than taking on more problems trying to fix it.
Another potential side effect of many medications is a loss of motor skill, a condition that can lead to a loss in motoring skills. In their search for relief, many people do not stop to consider the fact that a prescription medication can affect their ability to drive. A car is a pretty heavy piece of machinery, so, if you can’t pick yours up, don’t take a medication warning against operation against it.
I’d Never Drive After Drinking
And, thankfully, most other people wouldn’t either. However, many drivers wouldn’t think twice about jumping behind the wheel after downing a couple of allergy pills or a swig of cough syrup. Prescription meds are a different animal than alcohol. A careful and experienced social drinker has learned over time how alcohol might affect them. People don’t have the benefit of that type of track record with a new prescription. When someone is taking a medication, their primary goal is to feel better, not to evaluate how it affects their driving ability.
How Do I Say This?
Pharmaceutical companies walk a fine line when it comes to labeling their products. Legally they must inform consumers about potential dangers but phrase it in such a way that their products will still be purchased. Vague statements like “May cause drowsiness” meet the minimum requirement of truthful labeling, but what exactly does that mean?
When Spring Is in the Air
As we tumble headlong into “seasonal allergy” season, it is difficult for those who suffer just to get to the car. The neighborhood fairly hums with the sound of lawnmowers and weed eaters making it nearly impossible to make it from the front door to the car without stirring up the sniffles. This is the time of year when many people can’t make it through the day without the help of an antihistamine. Both over-the-counter and prescription versions of these little marbles are high on the list of those meds that “may cause drowsiness,” so you may want to try one on the day you don’t have to drive.
If you are starting a regimen of a new prescription, take special care and be advised that many medications can interact with alcohol, multiplying the effects of both. Alternately, if you are not currently on medication, be particularly vigilant for other drivers who may be relying on medication to get them through the spring.