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Driving on antidepressants as dangerous as driving drunk?

There are far too many DUI victims in Michigan. Far too often in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and throughout the state, a drunk driver gets behind the wheel and ends up injuring or even killing someone. According to a recent study, however, there are drivers who are impaired by something other than alcohol that we should be very worried about.

Researchers have found that those who take common anti-depressants are more than 70 percent more likely to get into car accidents when they are on the medication. The theory behind this is that the chemical changes that improve mood when a person takes this medication also decrease his or her reaction time.

The study took place at the University of Taiwan, and researchers thought their findings were so serious that doctors should ban patients from driving when they prescribe common anti-depression medication like Prozac.

The researchers also studied the effects of other drugs, such as sleeping pills and antipsychotics. They found that those who take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors--like Prozac and Seroxat--increase their risk of being in a car accident by 72 percent.

By contrast, benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, increased the risk by 56 percent. Antipsychotics increased the risk by only 9 percent.

Here in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration states that those who take Prozac and other SSRIs should not drive or operate machinery. Of course, when anyone begins taking a new medication, it is important that they talk to their doctors about side effects and whether or not it affects driving skills.

Those who are injured in car accidents due to impaired driving may wish to pursue a civil action in order to hold negligent drivers accountable and obtain compensation for related costs.

Source: Mail Online, "Taking Prozac? Don't drive: Pills raise risk of you having an accident by 70%," Sophie Borland, Sept. 12, 2012

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