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Antidepressants' Effects on Driving Ability
Psychiatric Times, January 2007, Vol. XXIV, No. 1

The effects of antidepressants and other medications on a person's driving ability have been debated for some time. A recent German study by Dr Alexander Brunnauer and associates adds to the evidence that antidepressants impair driving. A naturalistic nonrandomized study, the results of which were published in the November 2006 issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, tracked the driving of 100 patients who were taking SSRIs, mirtazapine (Remeron), or tricyclic antidepressants.

The researchers tracked patients' driving using the Computerized Act and React Testsystem and the Wiener Test system, which measure visual perception, reaction time, selective attention, vigilance, and stress tolerance. It was found that psychomotor performance was moderately impaired in 60% of the patients and severely impaired in 16%. Patients taking SSRIs and mirtazapine had better test performance than those who were taking tricyclics.

The researchers urged clinicians to stress to patients who are taking antidepressants the possible effects of their medication while driving.
i wonder if they have considered the effects of untreated depression on driving ability. i know that for me i was losing my concentration and was driving when i shouldn't have been. scary to think about, in retrospect.


I think that would really be an interesting study, if not done already.

I know that my concentration is really not good on my worse days and that my driving really does suffer however I never thought of my medication having anything to do with it.

just mary

I'm beginning to think that I'm just a bad driver...:D

All kidding aside, it is an interesting study. And I thought the same thing LB, what about people who are depressed and driving?

I think we all take driving for granted some times. We're in control of a very powerful machine that can inflict a LOT of damage, yet some of us talk on our cell phones, play with the radio (I'm guilty of this one), eat, drink and whatever. And not to forget the obvious ones, drinking and/or drugging and driving. Also, what happens when we get behind the wheel and we're angry?

Just thinking out loud, :)



Patients taking SSRIs and mirtazapine had better test performance than those who were taking tricyclics.

According to my understanding of the pharmacokinetics of the SSRI's and tricyclics the preliminary data that people taking SSRI's performed driving tasks at a higher level of performance is not surprising.

SSRI's were developed as so called designer drugs, where their site of action among specific neurotransmitters, thought to cause depression was precisely planned and their impact on sites (neurotransmitters) thought to cause unwanted adverse effects associated with tricyclics, was significantly reduced.
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