Sedative Tied to Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving the Elderly

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Significantly higher rates of motor vehicle collisions in women and adults aged ≥80 years
Significantly higher rates of motor vehicle collisions in women and adults aged ≥80 years

HealthDay News — Zolpidem users, especially women and individuals aged ≥80 years, have higher rates of motor vehicle collisions (MVCs), according to a study published online in Sleep Medicine.

John N. Booth III, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues examined the correlation between current use of zolpidem-containing medications and MVCs in 2,000 drivers aged ≥70 years. The five-year MVC and at-fault MVC rate ratios (RRs) were estimated for zolpidem users versus nonusers.

The researchers found that after adjustment, there was attenuation of the RR of MVCs comparing zolpidem users versus nonusers (unadjusted: 1.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 2.08 versus adjusted: 1.38; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.98). The unadjusted and adjusted RRs were 1.65 (95% CI, 1.03 to 2.66) and 1.61 (95% CI, 1.00 to 2.60), respectively, for women. Among those aged ≥80 years the unadjusted and adjusted RRs were 2.24 (95% CI, 1.19 to 4.57) and 2.35 (95% CI, 1.20 to 4.61), respectively. There were no statistically significantly correlations for men or participants aged younger than 80 years. The patterns were similar for at-fault MVCs.

"Practitioners should consider behavioral treatment before initiating low doses of zolpidem and escalating it as needed to achieve restorative sleep in females and individuals aged ≥80 years to reduce the risk of zolpidem-associated MVCs," the authors write.

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