Many conditions are treated with medication. These include anticonvulsants to prevent seizures, antidepressants and sedatives to alter behavior, pain medication and a host of others. In addition to the intended effect, many drugs have undesirable side effects, which vary from person to person and are not entirely predictable. The list of side effects, while far from complete, includes these most common states: drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision and slowness to urinate.
Additionally, these medications have not been tested in divers while diving or in a controlled hyperbaric environment: this type of assessment of risk for the diver cannot be performed. There may be an interaction between the medication and high partial pressures of nitrogen, producing an unexpected side effect such as anxiety or panic.
Fitness & Diving
What to do
For more information on conditions involving the central nervous system, see all of Dr. Hugh Greer's article from the May/June 1999 issue of Alert Diver.