Allergies are a common problem during warmer months. Pollen, ragweed and other allergens fill the air during allergy season. The use of many allergy medications can lead to drowsiness. This raises the problem of drowsy driving if a person takes allergy medication and gets behind the wheel. The Food and Drug Administration has released a reminder to people who take antihistamines that they need to be careful to avoid the potential for drowsy driving.
While not all allergy medications cause drowsiness, many of the most popular brands have been tied to the condition. Diphenhydramine, sold as Benadryl, as well as cetirizine (Zyrtec) and loratadine (Claritin) can cause drowsiness. The labels of many allergy medications contain warnings about the potential for drowsiness. They list warnings against operating heavy machinery. Driving while drowsy is an unsafe practice that leads to countless injuries and deaths every year.
The drug facts label on an over-the-counter medication contains important information you need to know before using the product. Some allergy medications should not be taken by someone who is drinking alcohol or who is also taking sleeping pills or tranquilizers. These drugs can combine with these other substances to greatly enhance the drowsiness experienced by the user.
Allergies can be an unpleasant experience. The drugs that relieve the symptoms of allergies help many people greatly improve their quality of life during allergy season. Like many drugs, they may also have drawbacks. It is vital to follow the guidelines listed on the label, including those about not operating heavy machinery. Slowed reaction time can be fatal behind the wheel.
Source: CBS News, "FDA: Allergy medications may make you too drowsy to drive," by Ryan Jaslow, 1 June 2013