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Medication Impact on Driving and Working

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,722
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Pain Medications
We all understand the impacts that various medications can have on our day to day lives. In a recent forum topic this discussion started to rise.
Its a very good topic and something that should be taken very serious. Know I already now in advance that there are going to be difference of opinions regarding this subject. What I am asking:

1- As always follow forum rules
2- Refrain from any singling out one member or another
3- Stay on course, keep the thread topics meanigful

This way all members can benefit from the posts that I am sure will be made
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • I guess I will get it started.....I do not drive (if I can help it ) when I am on medication...it is just a personal preference.....but then again I do not drive all that much anyway because my ROM sucks. I guess this is the type of decision that only the person taking the meds can make along with what their doctor has to say. At the end of the day though people , all we can do is be careful and take care whenever we are behind the wheel whether we are medicated or not.
  • I noticed the post about narcotics while working/driving on the other thread, it was mentioned that the person could take Lyrica or such instead of the narcotics. I am here to tell you that it is safer to drive on narcotics than the Lyrica.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,722
    It is very different among people.

    I felt like I could drive without any problems while using Oxycontin ER, but when I am using Oxycodone, not the same.

    With Zanaflex, I dont want to drive because I know my reflexes are slow.. When I was using Lyrica (until I hit too high a dosage), I had no problems driving.

    Back to testing and doctors.. I have to agree with Paul. I just can't see any doctor willing to risk their professions after providing a test to patient and letting them know it was ok to drive and that patient going out and having an accident.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • everybody's different! some people take low doses and get loopy and some can take a high dose and feel nothing it's different for everyone.
  • I'm with spin i would like to know what testing is performed and do you get a free pass if your in a accident. It is a felony to drive under the influence. What makes the difference of a person who goes out every evening and has a few drinks and becomes used to driving than a person who never drinks. There is no difference the blood alcohol level is the same all other factors being equal.

    If a truck driver is in a accident they must proceed to a mandatory drug testing site. Are they any different? Would you like your surgeon taking opiates and operating on you? Do you want to put your family in a boeing 727 knowing the pilot has a back condition and taking opiates? Do you think it is okay for the local police to be on a high speed chase under the influence? How about the paramedics or the fire department? Is it okay for the school bus drivers transporting your children? Everyone has the right to choose? I have the right to protect myself and i have the law on my side. I also have a right to society to protect those who can't protect themselves. So if you choose to put others at risk i choose to use the law.

    I want to know what doctor has signed a release statement saying it is okay and the specific test they are performing that releases one to stand above the law? The supreme court has ruled on this recently saying your employer has the right to terminate you even though you have a prescription for the use of these meds. If you owned your own business and waged everything you own on it would you knowingly assume the risk? I wouldn't.
  • Ron stated a some very good facts. we are not here to judge people on what they do and what they do not do.
    Personally no not a good idea. its still in your system whether you feel the effects or not.
    Its still illegal and considered a DUI in many states. I personally do not want to put myself or anyone else in danger.
    I waited till I got home to take meds when in nursing school or working.

    So point of this whole post Ron made was not to judge anyone.
    If you choose to that is your own personal decision. If you also choose not to that is still your own personal decision.
    I will not judge anyone in their insight of what they think is right or wrong.

    I don't want to see this thread get out of hand.
    Facts were being stated that was all.
    Ron does a great job of keeping us all well informed about awesome info and applaude him for that.

    Everyone please take care and please just be very careful.
    Terri O:) >:D<
  • I used to drive a car that was glued to the road, traction control, 4 wheel turn sensitive ABS/etc, very safe, and even so would refrain at times with Oxycontin, it just got to me too much. With my current meds, honestly, they are totally transparent to me.

    I took a reflex test 2 weeks ago for drag racing; basically it times how long it takes you to floor the gas pedal after the lights turn green on the xmas tree thing, and my reflex was about 0.112 seconds average after 3 tries I believe, pretty darn quick. That's fully medicated. That being said, I am on the road every day, but with extreme caution. I am by far the LEAST dangerous thing out there, I have to look out for ME. Legally, there is some gray area there, and it turns a bit black and white if you rear end someone, but it terms of reality, my driving record speaks for itself. 8 years medicated, 15 years driving, zero accidents. If I have to use some extra soma however, then I stay put.

    If I had any advice to give it would be to NOT drive at all for at least a week or two when starting any new medicine until you know for sure you are A-OK. Most meds say 'use caution', because they know you will adjust and be ok. Some say 'DO NOT DRIVE', if you have one of those, you are definitely not in the gray area, and shouldn't drive. Everybody reacts differently; some of us NEED a driver, some of us don't. All of us that drive on our meds are probably breaking some law, but I'm guessing the necessity of food/shelter/money is the driving factor.(pun not intended)

    I'm not saying what I drive btw.
  • There IS NO Doctor, NO signed release statement, and NO Doctor specifically said it's OK to drive while taking narcotics.

    For whatever reason, Spinasaurus decided to spin my words and became very RUDE insisting I said what he/she stated (which I did not), and then posted SIX TIMES demanding I specify what test is done by Dr's to OK these things. Apparently I'm not supposed to leave SH or my computer because I'm supposed to answer posts immediately and if I don't then it justifies one taking up an entire thread by posting those multiple demands for response. And if that wasn't bad enough, they had to bring the argument here but rather than correctly tell everyone on THIS thread what it was I said as well as my response, they decided to tell THEIR VERSION of it and as you can see, it has created quite the stir over here too!

    It's obvious that Spineasaurus or however it's spelled is only after the thrill of the controversy rather than the actual truth to what I posted. What a shame...
  • ... all of those taking allergy medication, blood pressure medication, Motrin, you name it, should stay home and not drive or work.

    Read the warnings that come with 90% of the medications both prescribed and over the counter and it warns "may cause drowsiness". News flash ... drowsiness = impairment!

    So stay home and take a nap.

    I had a highschool friend lose half her face because someone decided to light a cigarette while driving. Not drink, not use, but light a cigarette! Nicotine's a drug, so I guess if you want to smoke, do it at home and don't drive until it's out of your system.

    Yes narcotics can impair a person and yes in many states there are laws that will allow a person to be arrested for DUI. Does this mean that a world wide campaign should be launched telling everyone "suffer horrible pain until you get home".

    Pain is distracting. Horrible pain is debilitating. Chronic pain when properly medicated can be survived.

    People in chronic pain have to work in order to live. Some have the luxury of working from home or having a spouse that can support them, many do not.

    This world is not perfect. Thank goodness!

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,722
    more than some of the medications you are taking?
    I know for myself, when I have had a real bad chronic pain day, I would stay away from operating just about anything.
    I could not focus, the pain seemed to consume me, so I knew that there was no way I could get into a car and drive.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • believe stupid people shouldn't drive. (or work)
  • I always read what each med prescribed to me says about driving. Some of the meds haven't affected me in any way and I have driven short distances.
    However there have been some meds that have literally had me seeing things coming out of thin air, I was talking to people that were not even there, yet describing to my husband what they were wearing etc. Really scary stuff for someone that hasn't experienced a high before. On this medication I didnt drive for 6 weeks. When I took it it just made me hallicnate and then go to sleep as I would be shattered talking to these non-existant people.

    I hope we are all sensible enough to use our common sense, there is alwyas someone that will help you get a few groceries if you ask them nicely.

    If I have to drive these days I plan my day around what time I wake up. I need to take my sleeping/pain meds so I can rest and be pain free for a little while, so no early early mornings for me. If I have to, then I go without my pain meds and pay for it later.ie when collecting my parents from the airport etc.

    Sorry for long post, I have seen what the effects are on people who have been involved in accidents where people have either been drunk or on meds that have a ffected their driving ability, it really can change your life the decisions you make, so make them carefully, it s not only you, you will be affecting by the choices you make. Hope that mkaes sense!:D

    Love Danni xoxoxo
  • http://www.totaldui.com/dui_state_laws.htm

    I found this site that has the DUI laws for each state in the US. I hope that some might find this information helpful.

    As for me, I'm with Ron. Before I found the right medication my pain made me so uncomfortable that I had a hard time staying still, or keeping my legs in the correct position for driving, as well as sometimes crying from the pain as I was driving. The oxycodone does not make me high, and in fact makes it much easier for me to work and drive than when I was in pain.

    It took me a long time and several tries to find the right medication. One that helped my pain, but didn't make me sick. Whenever I started a new medication, I always started taking it on the weekend, so I could determine how it effected me before having to do anything that would require leaving the house.

    I don't have the option of staying home, I need to work.

    I don't think it's fair to say I need to make the decision to either be in pain and work, or not work and take meds for the pain. That just doesn't make sense to me.

    Anyway, that's my opinion. Meidcations effect everyone differently, that much should be clear to all of us on this site. But each of us has to act responsibly, and honestly evaluate the impact specific drugs have on us. I would never take a drug that made me "high", and drive or work while on it.
  • agriman said:
    believe stupid people shouldn't drive. (or work)
    =)) =)) =))
  • Surely it comes down to common sense?

    It's not a matter of narcotic drugs vs alcohol vs something else. A lot of medication can severely impair you as others have already pointed out. Driving while under the influence of a significant dosage of neurontin, lyrica or topamax (to name just a few) when your body is not used to those, can really flip you out. Some people's lights get switched off with over the counter allergy medications. As Ron pointed out, what can be worse is trying to drive while under the influence of chronic or acute pain (try driving when having a bad migraine attack!).

    At the end of the day it comes down to common sense - DON'T drive if you feel that you are impaired in any way. Sadly some people out there still will...

    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Very well said, a lot of drugs will make you loopy, for me it is the Lyrica or Neurontin. The first week of any adjustment to it will make me like a drunk person and I will not drive. As for the narcotics, I have only taken them after surgery and did not drive for other reasons, could not turn my head. I never felt a "high" from them just some relief from the pain. There are other drugs that people take for anxiety and those to me should be taken with caution, doctor once told me anxiety drugs are very dangerous and are much like liquor in a pill form.

  • with kids in the car, they are a huge distraction
    while reading road signs
    before coffee
    while listening to music
    while listening to news
    while reading the instrument panel

    really though, i drive better with the darvocet I have been taking (about 1 per daym around 10:30 when the sitting at my desk becomes unbearable) than without

    I can hardly move in the mornings to turn my head left and right. Sometimes it hurts like a beeyotch to press the pedals.

    Girls gotta work though...
  • I have heard that people who don't have ADD and take medication for it, have an opposite reaction (get high)

    Is this the same for pain meds? I have gotten a little goofy on some, but for the most part, I either get really sick, or feel nothing at all.

    So my question is, if someone is in pain, would medication affect them differently if they were not in pain? Is that why so many of us don't get "high" off of them?
  • nice point you make...
  • When I had kidney stone and got IV Morphine at ER, ALL I felt was the absence of pain (and gratitude to the nurse that gave it to me). If I hadn't been in pain, i'm sure I would have experienced severe euphoria. They gave me a second one after x-ray, that i didn't request, and i was not even hurting and THAT ONE, i got high off of. Don't remember anything after that until i woke in room. But after 1st one, i just felt normal.
  • When I initially started taking opioid pain meds, I would only take them after I got to work or after I arrived at my destination and I wouldn't be driving for a while. After the "loopy" effects wore off I take them whenever I need them. They don't effect my motor skills, timing, etc. All they do is take the edge off the blinding pain.
  • It goes straight to the pain and most definately not to my head. Sometimes I wish it did though!

    I think if I were not in severe pain, I would definately be more suseptible to the euphoric side effects of drugs and alcohol.

    I would be a cheaper date too! :))(
  • Entire reply removed by moderator paulgla. Material is not relevant to the topic.
  • Taking medications for chronic pain while at work is protected under the ADA?
  • My heart goes out to you....I felt your pain through your post. I don't know how you do it, I am in pain all the time but do not have to care for small children or work. I just don't know what to say but that it's so unfair that you have to have this pain and do all that you do. My children are grown and I remember the days when they were small and how hard they were and I had no chronic pain then....God bless you.

  • This post came to mind. I avoid driving while on medication, if my son is in the car. My husband was called in to work, and was not able to come with me. I chose not to take my medication.

    As I was driving, the pain consumed me. It came to mind, that maybe I was not in a position to drive. Now, my doctors office was only about 10 blocks away. But I was in pain, and agitated. Was I really in a better condition to drive?

    I am glad that this topic has been brought up. Its given a lot of information for and against. While I try to avoid taking meds when I drive, in the future, I think I will plan a little better. Now I am "chasing pain" and regretting it. Maybe waiting a few hours after taking meds, then driving (If I have to)

    Alina (asmith) honey, I feel for you so much. You and I are two peas in a pod! I only wish you lived closer to me!!! I deal with the same dilemma everyday of my life. And I know that I am in for a ride now being pregnant. I know from experience, there isn't a doctor around that wants to take the responsibility of a pregnant woman who has these issues. All I can do is hope that I can find the right doctor to take over my care.
  • Reply removed by moderator paulgla. Material is not relevant to the topic.
  • Very well said. I am a single mother, two boys 9&11 and I work 45+ hours per week. I have no choice but to work, my injury happened at work and WCB won't approve me being off.

    As another person said, Lyrica was the one that affected me. I couldn't and didn't drive on it, I actually went off it for that reason. I can't plan ahead for when I need to drive as I am on call 24/7.

    In my experience, you right about how someone looks at a cancer patient and their right to pain medication. I had uterine cancer 5 years ago and no one questioned the fact that I took pain medication then.
  • Saying not to drive while on pain meds or meds related to pain would be statements from people who DO not suffer from chronic pain. I mean come on get real that means to us who have chronic pain we loose our INDEPENDENCE also.

    I have to totaly disagree with this issue, I believe its up to each individual to know if they are impared from their meds or not everybody tolerates medication differently. I f you have chronic pain everyday to where you are on a monthly script and contract then you probably don't have the choice of taking pain meds 24/7 or not, but you do have the choice of overmedicating or not.

    If your at a point where you are loopy from your meds then it is to much, or maybe not the right med. I am more than proud to say that I know when a dose is to high and will lower it to avoid the high from pain meds.

    But to if my pain is bad to where I have to up a dose of pain meds then it only makes since not to drive.
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