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Influence of long-term benzodiazepine use on neurocognitive skills related to driving performance in patient populations: a review

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Abstract

Acute benzodiazepine intoxication produces severe impairment of neurocognitive skills related to driving. It is less clear whether such impairments also occur in patients who use benzodiazepines chronically. The current review evaluated neurocognitive skills of long-term benzodiazepine users and addressed 2 major questions: do long-term users develop tolerance for the impairing effects of benzodiazepines on neurocognitive performance, and if so, does tolerance warrant a change in driver fitness classification systems that currently deem users of benzodiazepines unfit to drive? Neurocognitive impairments were reported in patients who on average used benzodiazepines for 5-15 years. In addition, sensitivity to acute benzodiazepine impairment decreased in long-term users, suggesting (partial) tolerance. Definitions of clinical relevance of neurocognitive impairments in long-term users and how these were affected by duration of benzodiazepine use were generally lacking. Also, sensitivity of neurocognitive tasks to drug effects and their validity to predict fitness to drive were generally unknown. Because of these limitations, no firm conclusion can be drawn regarding a re-classification of long-term benzodiazepine effects on driver fitness.

    Research areas

  • benzodiazepines, fitness to drive, long-term use, MOTOR-VEHICLE CRASH, TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, OLDER-ADULTS, INSOMNIA PATIENTS, ELDERLY DRIVERS, IMPAIRMENT, WITHDRAWAL, RISK, ANTIDEPRESSANTS, EPIDEMIOLOGY
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacopsychiatry
Volume50
Issue number5
Early online date25 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017