Driving and medications: Information for clinicians

This information is sourced from GOV UK and the MDU:

Opioid and benzodiazepine medications are commonly prescribed in palliative practice. These can slow reaction times and awareness, particularly on starting the medications or increasing the dose.

Patients can legally drive when prescribed these medications if their driving is not impaired. It is good practice to advise your patient that:

  • It is best to avoid driving when first starting opioids or if the dose has just gone up
  • To carry a copy of the prescription in their car
  • That other factors such as alcohol (even very small amounts) could impair their fitness to drive in combination with these medications

Do document this discussion in the medical record. 

You should provide your patient with a patient information leaflet for driving if they are taking strong medications (see Downloads). This includes details such as side effects that indicate they may not be fit to drive (e.g. feeling drowsy or unable to concentrate).

For further information including a comprehensive list of the medications that this guidance covers, please see GOV UK.

Sources

GOV UK: Drugs and driving: the law

Published 20th March 2023

The MDU: Drug-driving and prescription medication

Published 12th January 2021

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