You try to be cautious and courteous while you are driving, and you avoid getting behind the wheel after having anything to drink. However, you recently received a prescription for medication that makes you feel dizzy and sleepy. Is it possible that you and other Pennsylvania residents could face a DUI for driving after taking medication?
"Driving under the influence" pertains to being under the influence of any substance that could impair your driving, not just alcohol. While illicit drugs certainly apply, prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can also result in a DUI.
Medications that might affect your driving
Numerous medicines can cause dangerous side effects for drivers, states the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These can include antihistamines, sleeping pills, antidepressants, pain medication and antianxiety medication. Drugs prescribed for serious conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, seizures or diabetes, may also hamper your driving. The most common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, shakiness and difficulty concentrating. If you mix your prescription with another drug or drink alcohol, the hazardous effects may be sudden or pronounced.
Addressing a problematic prescription
You are aware that your medication affects your driving, but unfortunately, you need to take it indefinitely. Getting a ride to work or taking public transportation are not feasible options for you, but neither is taking a chance driving under the influence of your prescription. You might consider talking to your doctor about getting an alternate medication with reduced side effects so you can drive safely. If no alternative is available, your doctor or pharmacist might work with you to determine the best schedule to take your medication, so you are less likely to feel its effects while you are driving.
You cannot always predict how you will react to a new medication. It is necessary to seek experienced counsel if you were accused of driving under the influence of a drug.