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The dangers for older drivers taking multiple medications

Americans are living longer than ever -- in part because of prescription medications that help them control blood pressure, high cholesterol and many other conditions that plague people as they get older. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost half of senior drivers report that they take at least seven medications.

Some of these are not meant to be taken by people who are going to be driving. Particularly problematic are prescription medications for cardiovascular problems and what are called central nervous system (CNS) agents prescriptions. This includes anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants and pain medications. Even relatively mild medications like antihistamines can cause fatigue, blurred vision and other symptoms that can impair a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

The head of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said. "This new research shows that the more medications an older driver takes, the more likely they are to use an inappropriate medication that can potentially cause driving impairment."

Patients need to beware of the interaction of various prescription and nonprescription medications (including supplements and vitamins). Unfortunately, since many older people see more than one doctor regularly, their individual doctors aren't always aware of all of the medications their patients are taking.

That's why it's essential for older patients (and all patients, for that matter) and their family members to be proactive about informing every doctor about everything they're taking -- even if they don't ask.

Law enforcement officers aren't always able to tell that a driver who caused a crash was impaired by their medications -- certainly not as easily as they can determine whether they're impaired by alcohol or any illegal narcotics. However, if you or a loved one has been injured by an older driver, it's worthwhile to ask these questions.

An experienced attorney can provide guidance in getting to the bottom of the cause of an accident. This may help your chances of obtaining the compensation you need and deserve as you heal.

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