Medicines have an impact on driving ability

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Drivers ignore the influence of medication on the ability to drive

The "Day of the pharmacy" on June 13th is themed "ask first, then drive". In cooperation with the General German Automobile Club (ADAC), the Federal Association of German Pharmacists' Associations (ABDA) wants to draw attention to the fact that medication can impair the ability to drive. A survey published on Wednesday by the Forsa Institute on behalf of the ABDA again made it clear that many drivers underestimate the influence of over-the-counter medications.

Known but underestimated drug risk According to the Forsa survey of 3,000 respondents, almost every citizen knows that medication can impair the ability to drive, but the influence of over-the-counter medication is underestimated. “With sleeping pills and tranquilizers, 96% of Germans still expect to have an impairment in road traffic. But only half of the respondents (52%) are aware that medications for allergies can impair their ability to drive, ”writes the ABDA. Around 66 percent of the participants are aware of the explosiveness of cough and cold remedies in road traffic. Medicines for migraines (75 percent) and eye medications (81 percent) are even more so.

According to the Forsa survey, 67 percent of German citizens have already read up on the impairment of medication. Information leaflets include information leaflet (72 percent), doctor (49 percent) and pharmacist (31 percent). The Internet, newspapers or magazines or friends or relatives are less often asked for advice. "A third of the respondents (33%) have not yet actively informed themselves about the risks of medication."

According to the ABDA, signs of side effects include tiredness, dizziness, drowsiness, visual disturbances or restlessness. Such sequelae result in particular from taking sleeping pills and sedatives, antidepressants and eye drops. Medications for allergies often lead to fatigue. "The results show once again that advice from pharmacists is also essential for over-the-counter medicines," explains ABDA President Schmidt.

Tag der Apotheke wants to draw attention to risk Every day, about four million people go to a pharmacy to pick up medication, writes the ABDA. Many of them come by car or motorcycle and underestimate the influence of medication on their ability to drive. There are also no clear limit values, such as in the case of alcohol, which means that every driver has to assess the danger independently or, in case of doubt, expect legal consequences. "In order to draw attention to the risks and the benefits of medication, we are dedicating tomorrow's pharmacy day to the topic of medication and road traffic," explains Schmidt. The ABDA therefore recommends obtaining information about any security risks at an early stage.

French study attributes 3 percent of all accidents to medication Already in 2010, a study by French scientists found that around 3 percent of accidents were caused by medication. Last year, the Automobile Driver Protection Association (KS) also warned against taking medication for flu sickness. They lead to symptoms such as tiredness and limited attention, which have a serious impact on the roadworthiness of those affected. Like the ABDA, the KS therefore advises all patients "to study the package insert carefully or to ask the doctor or pharmacist about the side effects". (lb)

Image: Willi Doerr /

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