People Receiving Buprenorphine and Methadone Are More Likely to Be Responsible for Traffic Crashes
Opioid agonist treatment (OAT) among opioid-dependent patients does not result in substantial driving impairment in driving simulation studies. The association between road traffic crashes and OAT has not been studied since buprenorphine became available. This French study of 72,685 car, bicycle, and scooter drivers involved in traffic accidents between 2005 and 2008 investigated the association between risk of being responsible for a crash and having a prescription for buprenorphine or methadone on the day of the crash. Responsibility was determined by police crash reports matched with a national crash database and linked to national pharmacy data.
- In analyses adjusted for age, gender, road/vehicle conditions, and prescriptions for other medications known to impair driving ability, drivers who were prescribed buprenorphine or methadone had a 2-fold risk of being responsible for a road traffic crash compared with those who were not (odds ratio [OR], 2.02).
- The 0.3% of drivers who were prescribed buprenorphine or methadone were more likely to be men, to be younger, and to have been prescribed other medications that impair driving ability (such as anxiolytics) than the 99.7% who were not.