The use of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills could impair a person’s driving abilities, and increase the risk of being involved in an auto accident.
Researchers in Taiwan recently compared two groups of people to understand the effects of psychotropic drugs on a person’s driving ability. The first group included more than 5,100 people who had been involved in automobile accidents, while the second group consisted of 31,000 persons of comparable age and gender.
The second group had not been involved in accidents. The researchers found that among the group who have been involved in accidents, the use of psychotropic drugs like anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants was high.
The results of the research have been published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. For the study, the researchers looked at two types of antidepressants that are commonly used. The first type were antidepressants and common sleeping aids known as Z-drugs, because the key ingredients in these medications begin with the letter Z. Examples of Z-drugs include zopiclone, zaleplon, and zolpidem. The other types of drugs in the study were Benzodiazepines, including triazolam.
The researchers have concluded that using these medications for anxiety or sleeping problems, can increase a person’s accident risks, because they dramatically affect driving abilities. In fact, Indiana personal injury lawyers highly recommend that doctors who are prescribing these medications exercise judicious care while prescribing these drugs. Doctors must prescribe these drugs only if absolutely necessary, or if there are no substitutes that are available.
Unfortunately, anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications as well as sleeping aids are some of the most widely prescribed prescription drugs in America. Their misuse causes tens of thousands of unintentional deaths every year. The researchers also recommend that when doctors prescribe these medications, they clearly warn patients about the risks of being involved in a car accident if they are driving under the influence of these drugs.
The researchers also analyzed the effects of other drugs like anti-psychotics, to understand the accident risks. They compared both older types of anti-psychotic medications as well as the newer versions, but found that these were not really linked to a much higher risk of automobile accidents.
Prescription drug misuse or abuse and prescription drug-related poisonings recently overtook auto accidents to become the number one cause of unintentional death in the United States. There is no doubt that many of these medications are extremely essential for a person to go on living a normal, healthy, productive life. However, care must be taken when a person is on these medications, and patients must be aware of all the side effects involved. Extra care must be taken when a person is on more than one medication, because of the risk of drug interactions and complications.