These medicines can walk you into a road accident

By Gatonye Gathura

Medicines labeled as risky to take and drive or operate machines have also been found dangerous for pedestrians to use and walk on motor ways.

Some of these medicines which are known to affect user alertness, speed, balance, vision and hearing are now confirmed to be the cause of many pedestrian traffic accidents.

A study among 16, 458 pedestrians, involved in injurious traffic accidents has linked the crashes to the kind of medications the victims had been taking.

The research linked 48 classes of medicine to the traffic accidents. Medicines for treating anxiety, allergies, arthritis and pain were among the 10 most consumed by the studied pedestrians.

Other drugs found to be a cause for concern were for treating diabetes, high blood pressure and migraine. Also featuring prominently were the pain medications – opioids.

The study covering a seven year period involved a group of French universities and the national transport agencies and led by the University of Bordeaux.

The team concluded that several classes of medicine were associated with an increased risk of a pedestrian being involved in a road traffic crash.

They also report that the same medicines, which warn users against driving or operating machinery were largely the same involved in pedestrian accidents.

The study published on Tuesday (18th July) in the journal Plos Medicine wants messages warning users not to take and drive also be extended to pedestrians.

The study shows most of the accidents 76 per cent involved 12,474 pedestrians while they were crossing the road in good weather and working traffic lights.

“More precisely, most of the crashes occurred at a marked pedestrian crossing or near traffic lights,” says the study. Other studies have shown drunken pedestrians most likely to be clashed in similar sports.

The research found many of the target medicines can affect a pedestrian’s level of attention, reaction time or walking speed.

For example some medicines for hypertension may lower the patient’s blood pressure leading to general weakness, dizziness and fatigue. This was especially found fatal for older pedestrians on blood pressure medication.

On the other hand some medicines for diabetics, or urinary incontinence are shown to cause memory changes, blurred vision, drowsiness, hallucinations, confusion, and delirium; all bad  for motorway encounters.

According to Kenya’s National Transport and Safety Authority pedestrians make up the highest fatalities from road accidents.  Of the about 3,000 deaths reported each year, pedestrians account for an estimated 1,344.