Antidepressants may impair driving ability, new research finds

Antidepressants may impair driving ability, new research finds

Antidepressants may impair driving ability, new research finds
Depressed drivers on meds performed worst in driving simulation
BOSTON – People taking prescription antidepressants appear to drive worse than people who aren’t taking such drugs, and depressed people on antidepressants have even more trouble concentrating and reacting behind the wheel.

These were the conclusions of a study released Sunday at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

University of North Dakota psychologists Holly Dannewitz. PhD, and Tom Petros, PhD, recruited 60 people to participate in a driving simulation in which participants had to make a series of common driving decisions, such as reacting to brake lights, stop signs or traffic signals while being distracted by speed limit signs, pylons, animals, other cars, helicopters or bicyclists. The simulation tested steering, concentration and scanning. Thirty-one of the participants were taking at least one type of antidepressant while 29 control group members were taking no medications with the exception of oral contraceptives in some cases.

The group taking antidepressants was further divided into those who scored higher and lower on a test of depression. The group taking antidepressants who reported a high number of symptoms of depression performed significantly worse than the control group on several of the driving performance tasks. But participants who were taking antidepressants and scored in the normal range on a test to measure depression performed no differently than the non-medicated individuals.

“Individuals taking antidepressants should be aware of the possible cognitive effects as [they] may affect performance in social, academic and work settings, as well as driving abilities,” the researchers wrote. “However, it appears that mood is correlated with cognitive performance, more so than medication use.”

Americans’ use of antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft, nearly tripled in a decade, according to the 2004 Health United States report, issued by the National Center for Health Statistics. Among women, one in 10 takes an antidepressant drug, according to the government.

###
Presentation: “The Effects of Antidepressants on Cognitive and Driving Performance,” Holly J. Dannewitz, PhD, and Thomas Petros, PhD, University of North Dakota; Poster Session 4110, 10:00 – 11:50 AM, Sunday, Aug. 17, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Exhibit Halls A and B1.

Things to Read, Watch & Listen

Proposed Assisted Reproductive Treatment Changes in Victoria

In this video Page Provan Director and award-winning surrogacy lawyer, Stephen Page, talks about the proposed ART changes in Victoria.

Surrogacy in Canada or Australia? Which is the Best?

In this video, Page Provan Director and award-winning surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page breaks down the surrogacy process in Australia versus Canada.

Landmark International Surrogacy Court Decisions

In this video, Page Provan Director and award-winning surrogacy lawyer Stephen Page explores international landmark court decisions for surrogacy.

Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board