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Popular Drugs Increase Car Crash Risk

Filed October 2nd, 2012 Laurie

Doctors are warning patients that commonly prescribed psychotropic drugs—used to treat anxiety, depression, and insomnia—have a higher risk of being involved in car accidents.

Psychotropic drugs are considered mind-altering drugs that affect brain function and can lessen your psychomotor abilities, including driving. A new study published in The British Journal of Pharmacology shows that people involved in car accidents are more likely to have taken the drugs for a period of days, weeks, or even months, said FoodConsumer.

Benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and newer drugs known as Z-drugs (such as Sonata, Ambien, Imovane, and Lunesta) all significantly increase car accident risk. The higher the dose, the higher the risk, pushing researchers to encourage physicians to warn their patients not to drive while taking the medications.

Researchers noted: “This study contributes additional evidence… that psychotropic medications can constitute a considerable degree of danger to traffic safety… These findings underscore that subjects taking psychotropic medications should pay increased attention to their driving performance in order to prevent the occurrence of MVAs [motor vehicle accidents].

…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,” the researchers added, according to FoodConsumer.

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