The magazine Quattroruote has published a survey on the effects that drugs have on driving ability. We talk about this topic with Dr. Antonio Voza, Head of Emergency Medicine at Humanitas.

Quattroruote recruited volunteers who had to undergo a driving test after taking certain substances present in the main drugs. The test included an 800-meter course that volunteers had to face, under the side effects of some drugs, to monitor the course during straights, curves, slaloms and sudden obstacles to avoid.


What medications should be avoided before driving?

Sensory reflexes and perceptions can be altered by many medications, but those given during the test include:

  • Muscle relaxants, used to relieve pain on the paravertebral musculature
  • Hypnotic drugs, sedatives that induce sleep
  • Antihistamines, used for chronic disorders such as allergies or hay fever


Other medicines that alter the senses are antidepressants and antipsychotics, but the same applies to anti-inflammatories, drugs used against gastrointestinal problems and those prescribed against diabetes. However, they are much more medically controlled than the muscle relaxants and benzodiazepines commonly used by the population.


When is driving recommended?

Driving under the influence of certain medications can be very dangerous. The general rules of the body’s reaction to medical substances are indicated in the package inserts, which also suggest the timescales to be observed after intake.