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Impact of prescription medications and driving

Impact of prescription medications and driving

While researching how prescription drugs might affect my balance and fall risk, I realized that these same prescription medications might impact my driving. Like most senior drivers age 65 and older, I take several medications regularly. However, it never even crossed my mind that these drugs might affect my safe driving abilities. It also never occurred to me to consider discussing this my healthcare providers. Even worse… none of them ever brought it up to me!

How do you know if medications will affect your driving?

Although we senior drivers are less likely to drink and drive, our prescription medications might be as risky as having a few drinks before driving. Research shows that seniors are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and that they heal slower than people in their 20s.
I came across a great website named RoadwiseRX. RoadwiseRx is a free tool (developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety) that provides customized feedback on how the side effects of medications (prescription, over-the counter and supplements) can impair safe driving. It also describes how these medications interact with one another and also with food.

To use RoadwiseRX, you just type in the names of the medication(s) you take and the website will automatically list the side effects. The side effects are then grouped into three main driving risk categories: Trouble Staying Alert or Awake, Difficulty Concentrating on the Road, and Difficulty Maintaining Control of the Vehicle. More specific driving challenges are listed under each of these categories. For example, if the website indicates that your medication may cause you to have Trouble Staying Alert or Awake, then RoadwiseRX alerts to what this may mean, such as:

“Challenges staying within the lane markings and increased risk of leaving the roadway. When drivers are unable to remain in their lane, it increases their likelihood of hitting another vehicle, traveling into oncoming traffic, or driving off the side of the road.”

Users can print the information from RoadwiseRX and take it to their doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks and review if the risks might be reduced by adjusting medications.

Information for Senior Drivers

Another resource available is a special website by AAA for senior drivers to help them drive safer and longer. The AAA Senior Driving website provides other helpful information for senior drivers (including an online driving course) to promote safe driving.

Finally, there are even Occupational Therapists who can help seniors adapt their vehicles to functional limitations they might have! There is an educational program called CarFit developed by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in collaboration with AAA, AARP and the American Society on Aging. Carfit provides a quick 12-point check on how well a senior driver and his/her vehicle fits together. Some of the key points include body position to gas pedal and brake, steering wheel tilt, and head restraint positioning. CarFit is community-based so it is not available everywhere, so be sure to visit their website for additional information.

Similar to fall prevention, there is a lot of help available to maximize safe driving. Your most important part is to recognize the problem and take action to find and use resources to help you.

For drug-free pain relief, learn more about Anodyne Therapy.

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Near-Infrared Photo Energy Therapy (Anodyne) could Reduce Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

Palanghi F., DeBellis A., Gioffredi M., Gori R., Picciafouchi R., Martini N., Anichini R.

Diabetic Foot Study Group (DFSG) of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) (2009)

Study Summary

All of the 18 patients who qualified for this study were diagnosed with diabetes and chronic pain in the lower extremities. The patients received a mean of 24 treatments that included Anodyne and manual physical therapy.

 

Results 

88% of Patients who received Anodyne treatments in the manner described in this study experienced significant pain relief, including:

  • 62% pain reduction when compared to pre-treatment values
  • 96% of patients were able to reduce or stop using medications for their lower extremity pain.
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Near-Infrared Photo Energy Therapy (Anodyne) could Reduce Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

Palanghi F., DeBellis A., Gioffredi M., Gori R., Picciafouchi R., Martini N., Anichini R.

Diabetic Foot Study Group (DFSG) of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) (2009)

Study Summary

The 18 patients who qualified for this study were diagnosed with diabetes and chronic pain in the lower extremities. The patients received a mean of 24 treatments that included Anodyne and manual physical therapy.

Results 

88% of patients who received Anodyne treatments in the manner described in this study experienced significant pain relief, including:

  • 62% pain reduction when compared to pre-treatment values
  • 96% of patients were able to reduce or stop using medications for their lower extremity pain
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Monochromatic Infrared Photo Energy Versus Low Level Laser Therapy in Chronic Low Back Pain

Tarek Abdel, Rahman Ali Anmar

Journal of Lasers in Medical Science, 2015, 6(4): 157-161

Study Summary

All of the 70 patients who qualified for this study were diagnosed with non-radiating low back pain that had lasted more than 3 months. 35 patients received 12 Anodyne treatments (30 minutes each; 2 times per week for 6 weeks).  Anodyne treatments were followed by 20 minutes of physical therapy interventions.  Patients were also instructed to perform home exercise on the days they did not receive Anodyne therapy. A physical therapist, who did not know what treatments that patient had received, measured changes in disability (FRI), pain and flexion range of motion after Anodyne treatments.

Results 

Patients who received Anodyne treatments in the manner described in this study obtained numerous beneficial results, including:

  • Significant back pain relief
  • Substantial decrease in disability
  • Improved low back range of motion
  • While patients benefited from both Anodyne and LLLT treatments, patients who used Anodyne gained the most improvement in their low back pain (Disability, FRI outcome) and had a pain reduction of more than 35%.
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The Efficacy of Monochromatic Infrared Photo-Thermal Energy Therapy in Rehabilitation: A Pilot Study report

Stanley Paul, Yuanlong Liu, Robert McAlister

Indian Journal of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. January-March 2010, Vol. 4, No. 1

Study Summary

The 20 patients who qualified for this study were diagnosed with diabetes, chronic pain and impaired skin detection to the 10 gram Semmes Weinstein Monofilament (SWM) in the lower extremities. The patients received a mean of 12 treatments of Anodyne therapy (duration of 30 minutes per treatment).

Results 

Patients who received Anodyne treatments in the manner described in this study obtained significant beneficial results, including:

  • 68% pain reduction in the lower extremities compared to pre-treatment values
  • 40% improvement in Tinetti Balance Scale (mean 16.65 pre-treatment to 23.45 after)
  • Observed ability to detect the SWM increased from 1.8 sites to 10.5 sites (nearly a 500% change)
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A Combined Treatment Protocol for Patients With Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Wendy M. Ferx, MS, PT; Meredith R. Hall, DPT

FEDERAL PRACTITIONER, September 2015, 68-73

 

Study Summary

All of the 33 patients who qualified for this study (conducted at a Veterans Administration Hospital) were diagnosed with diabetes, foot pain, discomforting foot sensations and impaired balance. All patients first received 12 clinic-based treatments that included Anodyne and manual physical therapy.  Following completion of the clinic-based protocol, the study evaluated the real-life results of ongoing unsupervised home use of Anodyne therapy. Physical therapists evaluated changes in neuropathic symptoms in response to 3 and 6 months of home use of Anodyne therapy by these patients.

 

Results

Patients who received 12 clinic-based Anodyne treatments in the manner described in the study, experienced substantial foot pain relief, reduction in fall risk, reversed the loss of protective sensation and improved their functional ability.

After both 3 and 6 months of unsupervised Anodyne home use, these patients obtained continued:

  • Pain Relief
  • Improved Mobility and Balance
  • Improved Activities of Daily Living
  • Reduced Fall Risk
  • Increased Foot Sensation
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Short-term therapeutic effects of 890-nanometer light therapy for chronic low back pain: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study

Ru-Lan Hsieh & Wen-Chung Lee
Lasers Med Sci DOI 10.1007/s10103-013-1378-2

 

Study Summary

The 50 patients who qualified for this study experienced chronic low back pain. 33 patients received Anodyne with a hot pack and 27 patients received only hot pack treatments. All patients received 6 treatments of 40 minutes each (three times over two weeks) using either the Anodyne plus heat pack or heat pack alone.

 

Results 

Patients who received Anodyne, in the manner described in the study, obtained:

  • Substantially decreased pain compared to patients receiving hot pack alone
  • Reductions in severity of disability and fear avoidance beliefs in both work and physical activity as compared to patients who received hot pack alone.
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Monochromatic Infrared Photo Energy versus Low Level Laser Therapy in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis

Tarek Anmar, PT, PhD
Lasers Med Sci 2014; 5(4):176-82

 

Study Summary

The 60 patients who qualified for this study were diagnosed with chronic pain and osteoarthritis. 30 patients received Anodyne, physical therapy and home exercise. The other 30 patients received infrared laser, physical therapy and home exercise.  All patients received 12 treatments rendered 2 times per week for 6 weeks.

 

Results

90 percent of patient receiving Anodyne, in the manner described in the study, experienced knee pain relief, including:

  • A 51% decrease in knee pain compared to a 45% decrease with laser
  • 60% improvement in lower extremity function compared to a 30% improvement in the laser treated group
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