Can Prescription Drugs Cause Workplace Safety Issues?

There is no question that America is in the midst of a drug epidemic. Illicit substances threaten communities and tear apart families. Yet, these illegal drugs are just part of the problem. Prescription drugs can also present problems, and that’s not just because prescription drug abuse can sometimes lead to illicit drug addiction. Even when a patient takes a prescribed drug as directed, that drug can inhibit the patient’s faculties and physical capabilities to the point at which safety in the workplace is threatened.

Prescription drugs can cause drowsiness.

The prescribing information for a wide range of medications instructs patients not to operate heavy equipment or drive vehicles until they know how the drug will affect them. This is because many drugs cause drowsiness. One example is sleeping pills. While most people aren’t likely to take sleeping pills during the day while they’re working, it’s possible for a sleeping pill taken the night before to cause daytime drowsiness the following day. Patients might also feel lethargic and sluggish. Other medications that may cause drowsiness include the following:

  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines
  • Allergy medications
  • Blood pressure drugs
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Anticonvulsants

Sleepy patients who must take these drugs may need to speak with their doctors about adjusting their dosages or switching to a different drug within the same medication class.

Prescription drugs can cause dizziness.

The possibility of drug-induced drowsiness is just one reason why prescription medications can inhibit workplace safety. Many drugs can also cause dizziness, even when taken as prescribed. Any medications that can cause dehydration, low blood pressure, or low blood sugar have the potential to cause dizziness and lightheadedness. Workers who suffer from bouts of dizziness are at an increased risk of suffering falls. They are also more likely to contribute to machinery and vehicular accidents.

Even if your company has a prescription drug abuse policy in effect, it never hurts to add an extra layer of protection to guard against accidents and liability. Talk to Guardvant about OpGuard—our advanced system that uses state-of-the-art sensors and detection equipment to monitor driver alertness and send deliver alerts when safety is at risk. You can direct your questions to our office in Tucson at (520) 299-1911.