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Can asthma medicine affect a Breathalyzer reading?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2022 | Drunk Driving

Blaming a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading on something other than alcohol might seem like a long shot. Yet, if you are facing drunk driving charges, it is crucial to consider all the options.

Here are some everyday prescription medicines used to treat asthma that research suggests might affect Breathalyzer readings:

Salbutamol, Salmetarol and Budesonide

These drugs are found in asthma inhalers. The propellants used in the inhalers might also raise the reading on a breath alcohol test. Doctors also prescribe Budesonide for people with Crohn’s disease, allergies or hayfever.

When might this argument work?

The stress and anxiety you felt about the police pulling you over might have caused you to take a puff on your inhaler.

Any effect these drugs have on a chemical breath test is thought to last no more than 20 minutes to an hour at most. So, you would need to show that you used it just before taking the Breathalyzer test. The closer to the test you took your medication, the stronger your argument.

The other thing is to look at how much you failed the breath test by. If you are two times the limit, claiming your inhaler affected it is probably pointless. It may, however, help you push down a reading that is slightly over the limit to something legal.

Claiming an inhaler caused you to read positive is a tough defense to argue without experience or understanding of the nuances of the law and the side effects of your medication. Getting legal help to understand your options can help you make the correct decisions if facing DUI charges.