All medications have side effects or the potential to cause side effects. Drowsiness is a side effect that is often overlooked in medications, but it can put patients in danger, especially when they drive or operate heavy machinery.
Many medications that are known to cause drowsiness include it on their list of side effects, and it may be specifically noted on the medication’s packaging or bottle. However, some patients ignore the risks associated with drowsiness, especially if they build up a tolerance to certain drugs and their side effects.
It’s important to remember that drowsiness can be compounded with other factors, and it can also be more pronounced with no prior warning. That means that everyone who takes medication with drowsiness as a side effect should be cautious and ask their doctors before driving or operating heavy machinery. Drowsiness can be severe and occur rapidly, increasing the risk that patients will make life-threatening mistakes or even fall asleep.
Drowsy driving is already considered an epidemic in the U.S., and it’s mostly attributed to sleep deprivation. However, a sizable percentage of drowsy drivers on America’s roadways are exhausted and slow to react behind the wheel due to the medications they’re taking. If you drive or operate heavy machinery after taking a medication that causes drowsiness, ask your doctor about alternative medications that may reduce your risks.