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Medication Impact on Driving and Working



  • When I am undermedicated and in terrible pain, I do not drive. It is not safe. I have sharp, shooting pain that will just rip through my leg and out my foot. When this happens, sporadically, I could literally end up in a ditch the pain hurts so bad.

    When I am properly medicated, I do not have issues with my attention span, reflexes, etc., (as far as I know), but I still choose to rarely drive.

    When I get my meds changed or adjusted, I wait a long time to see how it will really affect me at all time of the day. My husband supports me not driving unless absolutely necessary.

    Another issue with driving is that I can't shift and adjust as needed. I can be in a pain flare for days after one short trip to town. If hubby drives, I recline the passenger seat quite a bit, keep the heated seat on to keep the muscles from spasming, etc. Can't do the reclined seat when driving. I had to drive to an appointment 2 days ago (10 minute drive) and I am still recovering. Both from the drive and having to sit in regular chairs at the doctor's office.

    My S1 nerve has acute and chronic damage and sitting is my biggest trigger. I spend the majority of my day reclined at home, keeping my weight completely off my low back.
  • Your compassion is a quick reminder of the bond we should all share here. Thank you.

    I can't comment on this too much because it is being interpreted as being off topic. I will say that yes, my brother had huge responsibility in this situation. I do not condone his actions at all and i think they are inexcusable. I think there was some misunderstanding here though. Initially he did not abuse his pain meds. It was when they no longer worked for him, and he was desperate for relief, that he added to taking street drugs along with the prescribed drugs. So much of my words have been deleted that I can see where you would think that he turned to street drugs completely. He was not using the street drugs for recreational purposes, but for pain relief. I will agree that they were responsible for this, just as we are responsible for our actions. I guess my communication skills are not what they should be, because the point has been missed here by many. I feel this information is relevant to the topic, because it illustrates teh seriousness of driving while impaired, no matter what the reason for the impairment.

    I am not feeling a need to explain the situation with my brother the person. He paid the ultimate consequences for his actions, and his 2 daughters will have to live without their father. However, I did want to clarify the situation, because it is the driving with drugs in your system that is the issue here. And that is what makes his story relevant to this topic. Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    Additionally, I want to thank you for being so responsible with how you take your pain meds. You obviously understand the seriousness of the subject.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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  • Your welcome.......LOL sorry I just had to let it be known. ;)
    downinmyheart said:
    weakback said:
    downinmyheart said:
    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! :))(
    Cheep date huh ? :X >:D< :jawdrop:
    Dang girl you got it going on. ;) B)
  • It sounds like you have almost exactly the same regime that I'm on.I take 3 30mg Ms contin, 8 5/325mg percocet, 3-4 flexiril, lisinopril hctz, procardia xl, and trazadone at bedtime(to hopefully knock me out until my pain wakes me up.I stopped driving about 2 years ago by 'choice' I was pulled over 3 times never ticketed but didn't want to risk hurting someone, I don't feel all out of it or anything when I'm on my meds usually just a little tired, or grougy in the A.M. I believe it should be a personal choice within reason, if a physcian says this person shouldn't drive than they shouldn't drive. It is a matter of common sense and intelligent, educated decission making
  • Sorry, couldn't help myself. All this talk about driving, I couldn't help to think of THE CARS (80's band, for you young ones) :)
    Just an attempt to lighten the mood.
    I drive when I have to (doctor's appt, kid's school) I wish there was someone to give me a ride. I'm on Fentanyl 50 every 2 days, and it has no effect on me whatsoever. At my PM appt, they know I'm on it and I drove there to see them.
    I will not however, take Norco or Valium if I have to go somewhere. Those meds will alter me. I take my Naproxen and grit my teeth and drive. Driving is my nemisis. Being a passenger slightly less. I have in laws with no car, and I was leaned on for rides. I wanted to help,but then payed dearly. They were able to get on those transportation rides. I don't qualify because I don't get Medicaid. There were times they needed a ride right away, and I regretfully had to say no because I took Norco. I don't take Neurontin and drive either; it spaces me out greatly.
    I'm sure to be extra careful when I drive, and do nothing to be pulled over.
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  • I'm new here but after reading all of this, I want to express my own views for my own life. First of all I have been on pain meds for many years so at this point, I can't even tell that I've taken anything. They have no high feeling for me at all. I take Oxycontin, 80 milg. two times a day. Since they are time released I don't really have the opportunity to not take any pain meds before I drive. And I do have to drive. If I didn't take my pain meds, I would be in a worse condition and too distratced to drive safely. I feel that I'm a much safer driver on the road then someone who is talking on their cell phone, have 4 screaming kids in the car, or even what about someone who has severe heart disease and can have a heart attack at any moment. On a freeway at high speeds that could be a highly fatal accident if he hit someone. But at the same time, it would be hard to blame him. I wouldn't guess he planned on dieing that day, and maybe even didn't know he had heart problems. I've seen women putting on mascara while driving! How safe is that? I'm a very responsible person and if I felt that it wasn't safe for me to drive, I wouldn't. I also want to add that several years ago my pain doctor told me that I could drive a long distance if I wanted to. He said that my body was used to pain meds and I was not impaired. Which I already knew. I do think that you would be tested for drugs if you caused a bad car accident which injured others and I know for a fact that is considered the same as a DUI. But I'm not worried about it otherwise. Sorry for the long post!

  • Paul Said:

    "The only driving I do is a little bit around town to go to my doctors, etc. These places are no more than a couple miles away from home. I do need some normalcy in my life and I do not think there is anything wrong with me driving short distances."

    Paul - don't you know that most accidents happen within a 5 mile radius of your home? That's why, I don't stay home. When I go to the store, I don't go to the neighborhood store. I drive 6 miles to the Wal-Mart.
    :H Don't be mad, k? :)

    Sorry. That was tacky, I know. I was only trying to lighten the mood. It's very serious in this thread.

    I take my meds. I function. I drive 50 miles everyday to and from work. I cook. I clean. I shop. I live. All under the influence of pain medication. If I didn't have my medication, I would be living a lot less. I may not even be able to get out of bed. And what Ron said is oh so very true: Uncontrolled/Untreated Pain is very distracting.

    Now, like most here, I don't drive if I've taken my muscle relaxers. EVER. And, ditto with my Ambien CR. I don't have driving amnesia. BUT, I do crave some sweets about 15 minutes after taking the Ambien.

    But, there are those in every crowd who have a lapse in good judgement and drive when they know they shouldn't. I just hope none of my kids or family members happen to be on the same highways as they are at the same time.

    You all take care and take it easy.

  • I think the issue is not fully addressed in the pain contract or by the doctors. But if you get a DUI, you can be let go from pain mgt. If you are in an accident, I would not come out and say you're on pain meds. If you pass the roadside sobriety test for some reason they want to do it, and you pass, then it should be the end of that. I don't know the full extent of the law regarding that, or how it's dealt with. I heard of one state trying to take away liscenses of people with sleep apnea.
    My advice is just to be extra careful and remind yourself when you get behind the wheel, that narcotics are in your system. I don't have the luxury of someone driving me around all the time. My husband has to work, and I am not pulling him off during these volatile economic times. But of course in the event of an emergency, and I'm in too much pain, I'll pull over. I always have my cell phone. If I'm in the middle of a very bad day, I will stay put and go nowhere.
  • We has an accident nearby our home last year when someone ran the stop sign and hit us.
    Most places I go is near thank goodness, because driving wreaks havoc on my back. My Neuro is the farthest and I'm glad I don't go all the time.
    What I do is to get there early, so you don't rush and stress yourself out. And there is no pressure to speed a bit to get there on time.
  • Just my 2 cents. Every narcotic script I get from my PM has a little box checked that says "do not drive while taking this medication" I did ask the NP once about it and she said doc told her he wants it checked on all narcotic scripts they write basically to CYA. This leaves it totally up to the pt, like most others I still have to work but always keep in my mind that if I get in an accident or pulled over for any reason and was tested I could be charged with DUI. For me on my standard meds I think I do ok while driving. In fact I do know if I'm in a lot of pain while driving my concentration is way off and usually squirming in the seat a lot.
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