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Strong painkillers and Driving

You may have noticed that the label on your painkiller medicine says: “May cause drowsiness. If affected do not drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcoholic drink.”

Your doctor or nurse may also have discussed side effects of your painkillers with you.gen

Strong painkillers (or opioids) affect each person in a different way. They can make some people drowsy and reactions can be slower than usual. This may be worse if you take other medicines that cause drowsiness or if you drink alcohol. If you are someone who drives you may be wondering if it is safe for you to drive. The following information will help you to decide.

  • You must not drive if you feel sleepy
  • You must not drive after drinking alcohol or taking strong drugs which have not been prescribed or recommended by your doctor for example, cannabis.
  • You must not drive if you start taking other drugs that cause sleepiness, either prescribed by your doctor or bought from the chemist for example, hay fever medicine.
  • You must not drive on days where you have had to take extra (breakthrough or rescue) doses of a strong painkiller.
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