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Medications and Car Accidents

The fact that the older drivers have a higher rate of car accidents is obvious. However, the reasons have been questionable. Some claim that slower reaction and worsened vision is the key cause.

A recent study suggests that one of the factors seriously contributing to car accident rates in older age may long-term taking of certain medications.

Medications and Car AccidentsThe researches of McGill University in Montreal, Canada studied the records of about 225,000 people ages 67 to 84 and found that the number of damage-causing car accidents was increased by 45 percent in the group of people who take long-acting benzodiazepines, insomnia and anxiety medications. These medications remain in the bloodstream for over 24 hours, which possibly causes slower reaction.

The list of long-lasting medications that may increase the risk of a car accident was compiled:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Libratabs)

The benzodiazepine medications below are not long-lasting:

  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)

However, they can affect your driving skills as well, especially in the first hours after taking them when the effect is the strongest.

If you benzodiazepines to treat anxiety or insomnia and you have to drive much, you should discuss alternative medications not contributing to car accidents with your doctor. However, it is not recommended to stop taking medications without talking to your health care provider in order to avoid severe anxiety attacks or seizures which can have very bad consequences, icluding car accidents.

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