CAUTION: SLEEP AIDS AND OTHER NIGHTTIME MEDICATIONS MAY MAKE DRIVING THE
NEXT DAY DANGEROUS
Every night, millions of Americans take sleep aids like Ambien to help
them go to sleep and millions more take antihistamine medications like
Benadryl to battle the effects of allergies. Additionally, countless others
take pain medications such as Advil P.M. to help them with their discomfort
and pain while sleeping. While all of these medications are F.D.A. approved
and regularly provide help to the people who take them, there is a growing
recognition that, for at least some people, these medications also create
significant dangers when they drive the next morning.
Understanding the Risk of Nighttime Drugs
According to recent studies, Ambien and Benadryl are among the many drugs
that can negatively affect an individual’s ability to drive after
waking up. While this is a risk for everyone, some people are more likely
to experience these effects than others. For example, the F.D.A. recently
required the manufacturer of Ambien to reduce the recommended dosage for
women by half on account of the fact that the drug appears to affect women
for a greater duration—either because of smaller bodies or differences
in metabolism. Likewise, insomnia drugs can impair patients’ alertness
in the morning even when they feel fully awake.
Easy Ways to Help Ensure Your Safety
It has long been known that body weight, metabolism, and other underlying
medical conditions can greatly increase the effect of drugs used to help
people sleep, fight allergies, or deal with pain. The
Columbus personal injury attorneys and staff at Rourke and Blumenthal urge everyone to be aware of these
potential side effects.
Here are some simple steps that you can take to reduce the risk of driving
the morning after taking sleep aids or other medications that can induce
1. Be extra cautious the first time you take a medication. Persons are
often caught by surprise when taking a new drug. If possible, when taking
a drug that induces drowsiness for the first time, take it when you do
not have to get up and drive early the next morning. Additionally, you
should try to as aware as possible of whether you still feel drowsy minutes
or hours after waking up.
2. If you are a small person or have underlying conditions which affect
your ability to metabolize drugs such as liver or kidney disease, try
taking less than a full dose of the medication and see if it is still
3. Check with your doctor to see if there are alternative drugs that do
not cause as much morning drowsiness. For example, in many patients, the
drug Claritin has the same beneficial effects as Benadryl, but without
the side effect of being drowsy in the morning.
4. Finally, always take steps to reduce morning drowsiness. If you have
time, exercise. It is well known that even 15 minutes of cardiovascular
activity can reduce drowsiness. Also, while not a total answer, a good
strong cup of coffee or tea before getting into the car can help counteract
the drowsiness effects of certain medications.
Need a Lawyer? Call Today for a Free Consultation!
Columbus car accident attorneys at Rourke and Blumenthal are always ready and willing to pursue claims
on behalf of our clients if they are
injured in a car crash; however, we always tell our clients that if an accident can be prevented,
it is always better than being forced to make a claim for damages following
an accident. Taking the steps listed above and simply being aware of the
potential side effects of sleep aids and other medications can help reduce
accidents and injuries.
If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the
firm by filling out a free case evaluation form or calling
To Judge Sleep Aids, U.S. Looks at Drowsy Driving in the Morning