Trends in benzodiazepine anxiolytics and z-hypnotics use among French drivers involved in road traffic crashes from 2005 to 2015: a responsibility case-control study

Abstract : Background: In France, benzodiazepine anxiolytics and z-hypnotics (zolpidem and zopiclone) account for the largest share of road traffic crash risk attributable to exposure to prescription drugs. The aim of this study was to monitor the evolution of the use of these prescription drugs and their association with crash risk over a period that began before the implementation of a color-graded pictogram system printed on prescription drug boxes. Methods: Data from three French national databases were extracted and linked: the national health care insurance database, police reports, and the national police database of injurious crashes. Drivers involved in an injurious crash in France, from July 2005 to December 2015, and identified by their national identifier were included. The association with crash risk was estimated using a responsibility analysis comparing the use of benzodiazepines and z-hypnotics among drivers responsible or not for the crash. Results: A total of 97,936 responsible and 103,522 non-responsible drivers involved in an injurious crash were included. The proportion of drivers exposed to benzodiazepine anxiolytics or z-hypnotics remained stable among responsible and non-responsible drivers. Among controls from the general population, the proportion of exposed individuals tended to increase. The association with crash risk remained almost constant over the study period. The odds-ratio for benzodiazepines ranged between 1.42 [1.24–1.62] at the beginning of the study period and 1.27 [1.09–1.47] at the end. Conclusion: Given the increase in exposure in the control group from the general population, the stability of exposure for responsible and non-responsible drivers can be interpreted as a relative effectiveness of the pictogram on driver exposure levels. On the other hand, while the intrinsic effect of a prescription drug cannot be modified, a decrease in risk could have been expected if drivers adapted their behavior as promoted by the pictogram. Our results therefore suggest that no significant change occurred in driving behaviors or consumption patterns.
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Ludivine Orriols, Gwladys Nadia Gbaguidi, Benjamin Contrand, Blandine Gadegbeku, Emmanuel Lagarde. Trends in benzodiazepine anxiolytics and z-hypnotics use among French drivers involved in road traffic crashes from 2005 to 2015: a responsibility case-control study. Injury Epidemiology, SpringerOpen 2019, 6, pp.32. ⟨10.1186/s40621-019-0209-8⟩. ⟨hal-02265746⟩

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