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For elderly, car crashes go up with lithium use.

Older adults who are currently using lithium are involved in injurious car crashes more than twice as often as similarly aged patients, reported Mahyar Etminan, Pharm.D., and his associates at McGill University, Montreal.

By looking for people aged 67-84 years in 1990-1993 who were registered in the Universal Quebec Automobile Insurance Agency, they identified 5,579 people who had been involved in a motor vehicle crash in which at least one person had a physical injury. Among those, 19 had a prescription for lithium dispensed within the 60 days before their accidents, compared with 22 people in a random sample of 13,300 controls taken from the same cohort (BMJ 328[7439]:558-59, 2004).

The people involved in accidents were 2.08 times more likely to have been prescribed lithium within the last 60 days than were control subjects after adjustment for 12 confounding variables: age: sex; residence in Canada; previous involvement in an injurious motor vehicle crash; chronic disease score; and exposure to antidepressants, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, antimigraine drugs, muscle relaxants, or narcotic analgesics in the 60 days before the accident.

"Patients who are prescribed lithium must be told about the increased risk of motor vehicle crashes," Dr. Etminan and his associates said.
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Title Annotation:Geriatrics
Author:Evans, Jeff
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 1, 2004
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