Advising employees and employers on the effect of medication on
carrying out tasks at work
When you prescribe medication for your
patient, it is always worth checking that s/he understands the
possible effect this may have on his/her ability to carry on doing
certain types of work. It is also worth looking at treatments
which may help your patient to manage the symptoms which may have a
great impact on his/her ability to function at work, such as
assistance with sleeplessness.
Typically the sort of tasks you may need to
discuss changing due to the effect of medication are related to
driving, working with machinery or working at heights where
medication affects balance or judgement for example. In
addition, it is worth reminding employees and employers that some
medicines affect people’s ability to concentrate and may make
people feel sleepy or tired. The right ‘reasonable
adjustments’ to working patterns, tasks and conditions need to be
developed taking the effect of medication into account.
Applicants of drivers licence holders must
inform the Driver Vehicle Licensing
Authority (DVLA) of any condition that may affect their
ability to drive safely.
The Driver Vehicle
Licensing Authority (DVLA).
for medical professionals
This part of the DVLA website includes links
to the latest information on the medical standards of fitness to
The DVLA requires applicants or drivers
licence holders to inform them of any condition that may affect a
person’s ability to drive safely. This links to
information on specific medical conditions which may affect
driving and to the section with information on what happens
after the DVLA is informed about a medical condition.
College of Psychiatrists – mental health
The mental health information section has lots
of readable well researched information about treatments for mental
ill-health. The information leaflets include explanations of
how different medicines work, how long they may take to have an
effect, what tasks the medicine may affect your ability to carry
Mental Health Foundation
This section on
medication for mental health problems includes a section called
‘Questions to ask’ to help patients when talking to their
doctor. You may find that these are useful prompts for both
you and your patient.
Rethink has a summary of the possible effects
that common types of medicines can have. Rethink have also
produced a report called ‘Side Effects’ which is available
to download. This is based on the ‘real-life’ experiences of
mental health service users.
MIND has information on medical and
alternative treatments. Each booklet or factsheet contains
information on side effects.
and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
Taking medicines - some questions &
answers about side effects is a leaflet produced by the MHRA for
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