If I Am Taking Pain Killers, Can I Drive?

Dr. Edward Paul answers the question: 'Can I Drive If I Am Taking Pain Killers?'

— -- Question: If I'm Taking Pain Killers, Can I Drive?

Answer: Pain medications come in various varieties, or different types of pain medications are commonly used everyday by people. And when it comes to driving and safety, that typically relates to sedation and drowsiness side effects of medications. So, the question of whether one can drive while using pain medicines, I would immediately ask about sedating types of medicines, such as opiods and in that category of drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, the brand names are Vicodin, Percocet, as an example. And though the medications themselves may not be sedating, and one might drive without any problems, the other consideration is whether these medications are interacting with other medications that you may be taking. A good example would be medicines for anxiety such as lorazepam, or Ativan, when combined with opiod drugs such as hydrocodone or oxycodone may become very sedating and may well become dangerous to operate a vehicle or really do anything else that's potentially dangerous. So, it's more the additive effect of medications that becomes a problem. High dose use of opiods is also a problem in that one drug on its own, when used in high dose certainly, can also cause sedation. So there are those concerns, and that is something that your physician should obviously take into account and advise you appropriately as to whether sedation would be a problem.

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