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Over-the-Counter Drug Dangers

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 Beware of over-the-counter medications that can affect your driving. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are serious medicines and if not taken as directed by the drug label, these medications can have lingering effects. It is important to follow the Drug Facts on each OTC label to ensure the side effects do not interrupt your daily activities, like driving. Dr. Ali Mohamadi, a medical officer at FDA, said OTC medicines can have ‘hangover-like’ effects. Specifically, taking OTCs without enough rest can cause drowsiness behind the wheel and can impair your driving skills.

The FDA warns that you should make sure that any other medications you are taking do not interact with the OTC drug. You should read the “active ingredients” label of the OTC drug to make sure you are not taking more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. The FDA also warns consumers to read the “purposes” and “uses” sections of the label to make sure you are taking the OTC drug as intended. The “Warnings” label is designed to inform consumers when you should not take the medication or when to stop using the medication. It is important to read all drug labels and look for important statements or warnings about drowsiness. Consumers should see how the medication affects them before operating a vehicle or heavy machinery. If a certain OTC drug causes drowsiness or fatigue, the FDA urges consumers to check with their healthcare provider to find a medication to treat their condition. Common OTC medicines that cause drowsiness can impair your ability to drive a car include: antihistamines, antidiarrheal, and anti-emetics.

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