Legal over-the-counter medications can cause impairment

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

If you’ve been stopped for driving erratically or are facing accusations of drunk driving, one of the things you should know is that you could have a defense if your symptoms are a result of over-the-counter medications. While it is your responsibility to know how your body will react to the medications you take, it is also the responsibility of the pharmaceutical companies to warn you of all possible, and common, side effects.

If you have taken a medication in the past with no issues but develop sudden symptoms, you could still face a DUI. This is why it’s so important to make sure you don’t drive if there is any risk of symptoms like dizziness, drowsiness, anxiety or headaches.

You could face a DUI for legal over-the-counter drugs

Did you know that some of the medications you take over-the-counter are still potent enough to cause you to feel impaired? Take for example the common allergy medication diphenhydramine. This medication has potent side effects, some of which include making people jittery or drowsy. In fact, this drug can make some people so tired that they have to take a nap or plan to stay home due to the severity of the side effect.

Other medications may cause unexpected side effects as well. For example, doxylamine, another antihistamine, is also known for making people feel tired. This drug has a sedating effect. Loperamide, known better as Imodium, calms down the stomach but may cause drowsiness, too.

Drowsiness is just one of the potential side effects that some over-the-counter drugs can cause. Others may make people feel jittery, anxious or distracted. Still others may cause nausea or an upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea. Any of these symptoms can make it harder to drive safely and may result in a DUI.

What should you do if you’re stopped after taking a medication that has caused side effects?

If you didn’t know that this medication would cause the side effects you’ve suffered from, you may be surprised that you were affected enough to get stopped. You still have the right to defend yourself. Don’t talk to the police about the cause of your symptoms, but ask to go to the hospital if you need it. Later, look into your legal options to defend yourself.