Can Anti-Depression and Anti-Anxiety Medications Increase the Risk of Accidents?

by | Dec 26, 2012

A new study published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology brings to light a startling new risk for drivers behind the wheel.  The study focused on the effects of drugs like Ambien, Lunesta, Imovane, and Sonata which are used to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia.  Previous studies have focused on the effects of diazepam, also known as Valium, which researchers first identified for its harmful effects on the ability to control a vehicle.  This study, however, suggests that the new psychotropic drugs can be just as harmful.  The researchers found in clinical trials that drivers on one of these psychotropic medicines was far more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.  This likelihood was present whether the driver had been on the medication for one day or one month.  They also found that the higher dosage of a medication correlated to a much risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.  The trucking industry should take this new study into serious account.  Many truck driver’s report that chaotic schedules and long hours on the road often lead to sleep issues.  Whether the driver is taking the medication while he is need of a nap in between long days of driving or whether he needs it during his off time to help regulate his sleep, any presence of the medication in his system could seriously affect his ability to control the tractor trailer.  These drivers are controlling vehicles which can potentially be incredibly dangerous vehicles that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.  The researchers are not recommending patients to stop taking the medication, but to speak to their doctor’s if they are worried.

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