Tags: mental | drugs | road | risk

Antidepressants Found to Hike Road Risks

Friday, 14 Sep 2012 01:38 PM

Antidepressants – as well as sleeping pills and anxiety drugs – have been found to increase some motorists’ risks while driving.
A new study, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found people who take a variety of drugs for mental health conditions and sleep problems are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggested doctors should consider advising some patients not to drive while taking so-called “psychotropic drugs” that affect the way the brain functions and can impair a driver's ability to control a vehicle.
"Our findings underscore that people taking these psychotropic drugs should pay increased attention to their driving performance in order to prevent motor vehicle accidents," said lead researcher Hui-Ju Tsai, with the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan, Taiwan. "Doctors and pharmacists should choose safer treatments, provide their patients with accurate information and consider advising them not to drive while taking certain psychotropic medications."
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Past studies that have linked psychotropic medication and driving accidents have focused on benzodiazepines, used to treat anxiety and insomnia, such as diazepam (brand name: Valium). But newer so-called Z-drugs, used to treat insomnia, have received less attention, as have antidepressants and antipsychotics.
For the new study, researchers compared drug use among two groups of motorists. The first group, involving 5,183 people, had been in motor vehicle accidents. The second group, involving 31,093 similar people, had no record of being involved in motor vehicle accidents.
In general, the results showed those involved in accidents were more likely to have been taking psychotropic drugs. They also indicated people on higher doses of medicines had a higher risk of being in an accident.
"Our data demonstrated significant dose effects for antidepressants, benzodiazepine and Z-drugs," said Tsai. "This suggests that taking a higher dosage poses a greater danger to those intending to drive."

© HealthDay

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Antidepressants, sleeping pills and anxiety drugs may increase some motorists’ risks while driving.
Friday, 14 Sep 2012 01:38 PM
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