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Depression Meds May Increase Risk of Car Accidents

By October 10, 2012July 16th, 2019Uncategorized

A new study that was published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology is suggesting that medications which are used for treating depression (like Paxil), anxiety and insomnia may increase a patient’s chances of being in a car accident.

This new study has researchers advising doctors to insist that patients taking medications like Paxil should avoid driving while on the medications. The reason for this is because psychotropic drugs like those that are used to treat anxiety and insomnia can change the way the brain works and also affect their ability to operate a vehicle properly. The most popular psychotropic drug right now is Diazepam. However, antidepressants like Paxil are also said to cause impairment — perhaps to a lesser degree, but still enough to hinder a patient’s ability to operate a vehicle.

When the researchers looked into how these drugs affected a person’s ability to drive, they did it by comparing the drugs that people used by two groups of people. They found out by analyzing their medical records which were located in the Taiwanese national health insurance program. Group one consisted of 5,183 that had car accidents. Group two consisted of 31,093 people who were matched for age, gender and the year of their car accidents and had no records for the accidents. What they found was that the people involved in the accidents had a higher likelihood of taking psychotropic drugs and antidepressants like Paxil.

“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, Taiwan. “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.”

Antidepressants like Paxil have been linked to numerous different side effects. Paxil is an SSRI class medication used to treat various conditions including depression, OCD and bipolar disorder. The drug has also been linked with dangerous side effects like violent and suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well as birth defects (PPHN, spina bifida, cleft palate, neural tube defects) to babies whose mothers take the drugs while pregnant.