Around 3 a.m. on Monday, police officers found Tiger Woods asleep at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz in Jupiter, Florida, not far from his house. The engine was still running, and the turn signal was flashing. The officers suspected the disoriented Woods was intoxicated, especially after he failed four different sobriety tests. According to the arrest report, when an officer asked Woods whether he understood instructions to perform the Romberg Alphabet Test — in which a DUI suspect recites the alphabet from A to Z while standing in a particular position — Woods apparently responded, “Yes, recite entire National Anthem backwards.”
But Woods’ alcohol breathalyzer test revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.00, so he wasn’t drunk. He was, however, under the influence of other substances. The arrest report indicates that Woods was taking four different prescription drugs, recorded (incorrectly) as “soloxex,” “vicodin,” “torix,” and “viox.” His affidavit indicates he hadn’t taken the last drug, which is actually called Vioxx, this year.
Woods, who was cooperative but was so sleepy that he could barely keep his eyes open, maintains that he was extremely impaired as a result of unexpected drug interactions. “I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly,” he said in a statement. Here’s what his Sunday night drug cocktail entailed.
“Soloxex” is almost certainly a misspelling of soloxine (levothyroxine sodium), a drug meant to treat dogs with hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. The FDA issued a warning letter in January 2016 to the drug’s manufacturer, Virbac, for producing the drug without FDA approval.
Though Soloxine is a pill for dogs and not humans, it doesn’t seem like it would impair Woods. Besides a possible allergic reaction including hives, and rashes, there are no significant side effects to the drug.
Etorix or Turox
“Torix” was probably a misspelling of Etorix or Turox, two of the brand names under which the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) etoricoxib is sold. Used to treat joint pain, side effects associated with this drug are pretty much limited to rare instances of skin rashes. The drug is currently not approved in the United States.
In yet another case of probable misspelling, “viox” is most likely meant to be Vioxx, the brand name for rofecoxib, another NSAID. It is no longer approved in the U.S., due in large part to clinical trial data that showed a high risk of heart attack and stroke. Besides these risks from long-term use, though, this unapproved drug doesn’t carry any possible side effects that could account for Woods’ behavior.
The only drug the officer didn’t misspell has been a household name for years, due in no small part to Eminem’s lyrics. Vicodin, a brand name for a hydrocodone/acetaminophen preparation that qualifies as an opioid painkiller, is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act because it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Some common side effects of this drug are drowsiness and confusion, especially at high doses.
So while Woods reportedly takes four different prescription drugs, only one of them fits the side effect profile that he displayed. And while it’s concerning that a doctor would prescribe Woods enough Vicodin to cause him to fall asleep at the wheel, it’s also somewhat worrisome that he may be taking three different drugs that are not approved by the FDA.