OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to compare actual driving performance and skills related to driving of patients using benzodiazepine anxiolytics or hypnotics for at least 6 months to that of healthy controls.
METHODS: Participants were 44 long-term users of benzodiazepine and benzodiazepine-related anxiolytics (n = 12) and hypnotics (n = 32) and 65 matched healthy controls. Performance was assessed using an on-the-road driving test measuring standard deviation of lateral position (SDLP, in cm) and a battery of neurocognitive tasks. Performance differences between groups were compared with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.5 mg/ml to determine clinical relevance.
RESULTS: Compared with controls, SDLP was significantly increased in hypnotic users (+1.70 cm) but not in anxiolytic users (+1.48 cm). Anxiolytic and hypnotic users showed significant and clinically relevant impairment on neurocognitive task measuring executive functioning, vigilance, and reaction time. For patients using hypnotics for at least 3 years, no significant driving impairment was observed.
CONCLUSION: Impairing effects of benzodiazepine hypnotics on driving performance may mitigate over time following longer term use (i.e. 3 years or more) although neurocognitive impairments may remain.
|Journal||Human Psychopharmacology-Clinical and Experimental|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2019|