DUI Risks From Medications

What Medications Can Affect a Breathalyzer Test

medicines that can cause DUI

We all try to follow the rules. When going out, we have a designated driver or take a cab, but did you know that even if you haven’t consumed any alcohol or taken illegal drugs, you might still be at risk for a DUI? That’s right! DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and sometimes prescription medications that you take regularly and over-the-counter drugs can impair driving abilities and even impact a breathalyzer test.


One of the most common medications that can affect a breathalyzer is asthma medication, and that’s because most asthma medications are taken through inhalation. The medicine in your inhaler is designed to stay in your lungs, helping you breathe easily, which, of course, isn’t an issue. It’s exactly how it’s supposed to operate! However, sometimes, because this medication remains in your airway, if asked to take a breathalyzer test, it can cause a higher reading than normal.


Whether it’s prime flu season or that pesky summertime cold, over-the-counter cold medicine can be the difference between laying in bed all day and actually being productive; however, medications like Nyquil and other nighttime cold medicine should never be taken before operating a motor vehicle. Not only do they impair your abilities immensely causing drowsiness and blurred vision, but can also cause a breathalyzer test to read higher than normal because of the alcohol content. There are also particular cough medicines and drops that contain alcohol so be cautious with what you take before getting behind the wheel.


Toothaches are miserable, so using a topical pain relieving gel can be necessary to even make it through the day, but these oral gels can also trigger a breathalyzer test. This goes for canker sore and cold sore relief as well. All three of these medications contain a local anesthetic utilizing alcohol, which can drastically affect your breathalyzer results.


Though not as serious, Kombucha, a popular probiotic health drink does have a small amount of alcohol content due to its fermentation process, and depending on when you’ve ingested it, it could cause a false positive on a breathalyzer test. It is also important to be aware when buying kombucha because there are versions that (purposely!) have higher alcohol content, which are designed to be alcoholic beverages. That being said, it can be easy to accidentally grab an alcoholic version as most of the bottles look similar and are in the same section. Be attentive when shopping!


It’s not any big news that most mouthwash is full of alcohol. You can feel and smell it immediately, but if you’re trying to freshen your breath in the car after dinner, a breathalyzer could read higher than normal due to the alcohol you’ve been swishing around your mouth.

These everyday medications and treatments shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, but it is important to be aware of how these things can affect any potential breathalyzer test you may take. Be attentive when shopping and always make sure you know the alcohol content of a product before using it, especially if you’re getting behind the wheel.

Medications that can Affect a Breathalyzer Test

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