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Antidepressants and Driving in Older Adults: A Systematic Review

  • Duncan H. Cameron (a1) and Mark J. Rapoport (a1)


With an increasing number of older drivers who are prescribed antidepressants, the potential consequences of antidepressant use on driving skills in an aging population are becoming a pressing issue. We conducted a systematic review using MEDLINE, targeting articles specifically pertaining to antidepressants and driving in a population or subgroup of older adults (≥ 55 years of age). The search yielded 267 references, nine of which pertained to the effects of antidepressants on driving in older adults. The single experimental study found imipramine to have detrimental effects on highway driving, whereas nefazodone did not. Seven of eight population-based studies reported a significant increased risk of involvement in a collision associated with antidepressant use. Although the studies indicated a negative effect of antidepressants on driving, the epidemiological designs cannot exclude the possibility that the underlying illness, generally major depression, is the culprit.

Avec le nombre croissant de conducteurs âgés pour lesquelles on prescrit des antidépresseurs, les conséquences potentielles de l’utilisation des antidépresseurs sur les compétences de conduite dans une population vieillissante deviennent un problème urgent. Nous avons effectué une analyse systématique en utilisant MEDLINE, ciblant des articles qui se rapportent spécifiquement aux antidépresseurs et à la conduite dans une population ou sous-groupe de personnes âgées (≥ 55 ans d’âge). La recherche a retourné 267 références, dont neuf portaient sur les effets des antidépresseurs sur la conduite chez les personnes âgées. L’étude expérimentale unique a trouvé que imipramine exerce des effets néfastes sur la conduite sur autoroute, alors que la néfazodone n’a pas fait. Sept des huit études de population ont rapporté une augmentation significative du risque d’être impliqué dans une collision associé à l’utilisation des antidépresseurs. Bien que les études ont indiqué un effet négatif des antidépresseurs sur la conduite, les conceptions épidémiologiques ne peuvent pas exclure la possibilité que la maladie sous-jacente, qui est généralement la dépression majeure, est la coupable.

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Corresponding author

*La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Mark J. Rapoport, M.D. FG37-2075 Bayview Ave. Toronto, ON M4N 3M5 (


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Antidepressants and Driving in Older Adults: A Systematic Review

  • Duncan H. Cameron (a1) and Mark J. Rapoport (a1)


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