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F.D.A. Investigates Link Between Sleep Drugs and Car Accidents the Following Morning



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 LLC 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 drowsiness:

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 effective.

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!

The Columbus car accident attorneys at Rourke and Blumenthal LLC 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 (614)-220-9200 today.

Source: To Judge Sleep Aids, U.S. Looks at Drowsy Driving in the Morning

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