In the United States today, one in ten people take antidepressants. And 90% of Americans drive. That adds up to a whole lot of people on the road who are using anti-depressant medication. Is this safe? Well, in controlled tests, it has been found that the combination of antidepressant use and mental illness (i.e. depression), can lead to a decrease in driving ability.
This does not necessarily mean that you can’t drive while taking anti-depressants – the findings were that a combination of medication and depression could present problems. The tests did not identify how much loss of driving ability was due to depression, and how much was due to the medication used to treat it. Generally, driving after use of anti-depressant medication as prescribed doses is deemed to be safe.
Keep in mind that an antidepressant is very different from a sedative. Sedatives suppress impulses that go from the brain to the central nervous system. Medications like Zoloft or Paxil are actually SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that work to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain. Overall, it should be safe for you to drive while taking anti-depressants. But this can be affected by what type of anti-depressant you’re using, the dosage, and how the drug may interact with other substances you have used or ingested. If you have any concerns about any side effects that you are having or are feeling uncomfortable to drive due to your medication, we recommend that you consult a doctor before you hit the road.