A new study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology warns those who are taking medication for depression, anxiety, or insomnia to take extra caution while operating a vehicle, as their risk of having a car accident may be higher than those not taking psychotropic medications.
Researchers from Taiwan say physicians may want to consider warning patients to avoid driving while taking the medications as they work by altering brain functions, and therefore could affect driving capabilities.
"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, who is based at the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan.
The study compared medications taken by nearly 5,200 people involved in serious car accidents, to 31,000 similar people with no history of a serious accident. They found that those who had a car accident were more likely to be taking psychotropic medications.
Previous studies have linked car crashed to benzodiazepine medications used to treat anxiety and insomnia, but this study also looks at antidepressants, antipsychotics, and newer medications for insomnia known as Z-drugs. While there was a link between antidepressants and Z-drugs to car accidents, researchers say antipsychotics, even in high doses, did not have the same connection.
"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," Tsai said.
Although the research shows a connection between the medication and car accidents, it does not suggest a cause-and-effect relationship, Tsai noted.
Source: Health 24