Pilot Study: Multiple Medication Usage and Driving Functioning

This paper summarizes a pilot study that explored the relationship between polypharmacy (the use of multiple medications) and driving functioning through separate but related research activities. A patient-level administrative claims database containing prescription information as well as E-codes identifying the incidence of motor vehicle injuries was mined, yielding combinations of drugs that became inclusion criteria in a following field study of driver performance among 44 older adults. Driving performance evaluations by an occupational therapist/certified driver rehabilitation specialist, a brake response time measure, and functional screening measures were conducted for the study sample, whose drug profiles were documented through a "brown bag" review by a licensed pharmacist. The relationship between medication usage and each of these outcome measures was examined in descriptive data summaries and regression analyses. The driving evaluations were carried out in a dual-brake vehicle also equipped with speed sensor, Global Positioning System logger, and two miniature video cameras (driver's face and forward road views) plus digital recorder. A subsample allowed the same instrumentation package to be installed in their private cars for a week of independent driving; this supported an analysis of within-subject variability in driving behavior during a formal driving evaluation versus independent driving. Additional project activities included a review of the literature on the prevalence of prescription medications and effects on driving of specific drugs/drug classes. The feasibility of conducting future studies using large, administrative claims databases was critically examined. This research contributes evidence that can help guide continuing investigations into the relationship between multiple medication use and driving safety.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Staplin, Loren
    • Lococo, Kathy H
    • Gish, Kenneth W
    • Martell, Carol
  • Publication Date: 2009


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 9-20, 33-45, 48
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01150820
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 1 2010 5:36PM