According to the results of a new study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, individuals who take psychotropic drug medications including; anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and medications to help insomnia, could have an increased chance of being involved in car accidents.
The researchers conducted an analysis of the medical history of people who had been involved in car accidents compared to people of the same age and gender who had not. In total, 36,276 people were included in the study all of whom had Taiwanese national health insurance programme.
It was found that individuals who had been taking psychotropic drugs more likely to have been in an accident irrespective of the length of time they had been taking the medication. It was reported that drugs including benzodiazepines which are used to treat anxiety and insomnia as well as antidepressants were significantly correlated to an increased prevalence of accidents. The researchers concluded that the association was due to the impact the medication have on brain function, reaction times and subsequently the control over their vehicles.
Finally it was concluded that the relationship did not exist between individuals taking antipsychotic medication, who, regardless of the dose were found to be no more likely to have an accident than those not on medication.
This research highlights the necessity to attempt to deal with anxiety, depression and insomnia with other less toxic means such as Mindfulness meditation. Additionally, in light of the findings, guidance for driving while on the medications should be re-evaluated.