Can prescription medication lead to a DUI?
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Can prescription medication lead to a DUI?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Like many people, you may count on prescription medicine to support your health. Whether your medication helps you survive or makes your life more comfortable, prescription medication can be an essential part of your daily life.

Regardless of what medicine you take, it is important to understand what side effects you should expect. If the side effects of your medication impact your ability to drive, you could run the risk of getting a DUI.

Here’s what you should know about how the medications you take could lead to a DUI charge.

Learning the side effects

Understanding the side effects of your medication may start with reading the list on the packaging, but there is more to learn about your prescription than just what is written on the label. Everyone reacts differently to medications, so you may not know what side effects you will experience until you start taking it.

When you get a new prescription, you should plan to avoid driving for at least a day or two. During the first two days of a new medication, you should watch for side effects that could impact your ability to drive, such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Balance disturbances
  • Blurred or foggy vision
  • Slower reaction times
  • Fainting/passing out
  • Excitability

Experiencing these side effects while driving could leave you unable to make safe choices and give the appearance that you have been drinking.

Predictable prescriptions

Some medications tend to be more problematic than others. You should be especially cautious when starting medications such as:

  • Anti-seizure medicines
  • Medicines containing codeine
  • Opioid pain relievers
  • Stimulants
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Antihistamines
  • Sleeping pills
  • Antidepressants and antipsychotics

You should also be cautious about what substances and medications you take together. While you may not experience side effects from the medication alone, you may find that combining the medicine with some foods or drinks could lead to a different reaction than you are used to.

You should talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of any new prescription. If you are unsure about the impact a medication will have, you should speak with a friend or family member about helping you with driving until you know the impact your new medication may have on your ability to drive.

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