Psychotropic drugs affect focus behind the wheel

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Psychotropic drugs affect focus behind the wheelTaking prescription psychotropic drugs like antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills appears to increase the risk a person will be involved in a traffic accident, according to a new study.

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC.ca) reports that a new study appearing in the latest edition of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology identified people taking these drugs as those more likely to be involved in a traffic mishap. The drugs, they say, can impair a person’s driving ability, specifically their focus behind the wheel, and put them at risk of being involved in an accident.

Researchers in Taiwan examined reports of emergency room visits by people who had been involved in a traffic accident. The study group included more than 5,000 people.

Millions of people in the U.S. take these drugs for myriad health conditions. The study identified antidepressants, sleep aids, so called “Z-drugs”, and anti-anxiety medications as those most likely to impair a person’s focus when they’re behind the wheel of an automobiles.

The study examined the use of antidepressants Paxil and Prozac, benzodiazepines like triazolam, and anti-anxiety pills like lorazepam.

The researchers were unable to determine a direct cause-and-effect relationship between taking these prescription medications and the likelihood of being involved in an accident.