Prescription Medications May Contribute to Car Accidents

Car accidents can happen to anyone, even the most prominent individuals. Our Chicago car accident lawyers warn the public that no one is spared from the risk of car crashes that can lead to serious injuries or death.

Recently, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was involved in a crash that landed him in the emergency room for hip and rib injuries. His car was actually caught in a chain-reaction of crashes. The other vehicles involved included Capitol police vehicles that belonged to the senator’s own motorcade, along with two Las Vegas police cars. Some of the senator’s staff members also sustained minor injuries in the crash.

The accident happened on Interstate 15, which is parallel to the Las Vegas Strip, at around 1:10 pm. One possible reason that Reid sustained only minor injuries was that he was wearing a seat belt when the crash happened. Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.

So why is it that car crashes so common? One reason may be because many drivers take some sort of medication for conditions such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety. New research shows that the consumption of these psychotropic drugs by drivers could increase the risk of car accidents, compared with those who don’t consume such medication.

This research was conducted in Taiwan, and the conclusion drawn from these findings is that drivers consuming these medications should be more careful about their driving and be aware of the potential accident risk.

The study involved more than 5,000 people who were involved in major car accidents and also consumed prescription drugs. Researchers compared their results with those of more than 31,000 others who did not take these medications. They found that the drivers who consumer prescription medications for a long period of time were more likely to be in a serious accident.

The study also analyzed the influence of other modern drugs for treating insomnia, such as antipsychotics and antidepressants. These drugs are referred to as Z-drugs. However, higher doses of antidepressants did not result in a higher risk of major car accidents. Psychotropic medications appear to be causing the most significant issues. Consuming these drugs in higher dosages automatically resulted in higher accident risk.

The researchers suggest that pharmacists and doctors should provide patients with safer drugs and advise them on the risks of consuming such medication. Drivers taking these medicines should stay away from driving altogether or pay extra attention while driving. They should consult their doctor about this. Though the increased probability of a connection between psychotropic drugs and car accidents has been established, it does not seem that a cause-and-effect relationship between the two has been proved.

Antidepressants, as the name suggests, are used to treat depression, which is the result of a change in balance in some natural chemicals of the brain called neurotransmitters. These chemicals launch emotional responses and cause changes in mood. Antidepressants function on norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin and other such neurotransmitters.

Some of the most popular antidepressants include Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Escitalopram, Paroxetine and Sertraline which are available in their respective brand names. These are specifically called SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Other antidepressants include SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Duloxetine and Venlafaxine.

Chicago car accident attorneys support research-based campaigns that help to curb the incidence of car accidents. These campaigns help spread greater awareness and make our roads safer.