Archive for category Drug Reviews'

Drug Impairment Reviews: Opiates and Minor Tranquilizers

STUDY: Gordon, N.B. Reaction Times of Methadone-Treated Heroin Addicts. Psychopharmacologia, 16:337-344. 1970. Site: Rockefeller University and Yeshiva University, New York City, New York. Subjects: The subjects were divided into six groups. Groups 1 and 3 both had been maintained for at least 1 year on methadone for the treatment of heroin addiction. Group 1 had 18 males whose average age was 32.5 years; group 3 had 9 females whose average age was 33.5 years. Group 2 consisted of 20 unpaid male volunteers who did not use drugs; they averaged 32.5 years. The participants in groups 4 and 5 had recently withdrawn from narcotic drugs. The 20 males in group 4 averaged 31.5 years and had withdrawn 14 days earlier. The 19 males in group 5 averaged 30 years and had withdrawn 4 days earlier. Group 6 consisted of 9 females whose average age was 23 years. They were paid volunteers from the nonprofessional hospital staff, and did not use drugs. Method: Measurements were taken under controlled laboratory conditions; urines were tested (details were not given) for drugs to assure conformity to group. Variations of reaction time were tested in a button-pressing situation: (a) simple reaction time (one of six stimuli); (b) Read more […]

Drug Interaction on Psychomotor Skills Related to Driving: Diazepam and Alcohol

STUDY: Linnoila, M., and M.J. Mattila: Drug Interaction on Psychomotor Skills Related to Driving: Diazepam and Alcohol. Europ. J. Clin. Pharmacol., 5:186-194. 1973. Site: Department of Pharmacology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Subjects: The four hundred volunteers (371 males, 29 females) were comprised of medical students, technical students, and cadets. A brief history was taken to exclude subjects suffering from diseases or taking drugs. (Caffeine and tobacco were not specifically mentioned as being exclusionary, but coffee and “drugs” were stated as excluded “during the tests.”) The mean age of the subjects was 22 years (S.D. = 2.8 years). The subjects were divided into 20 groups of 20 subjects each which were similar in sex, age, weight, educational level, and district of residence. Driving experience was not mentioned. Results of only 10 of the test groups are reported in this article. Method: The research was experimental, under controlled laboratory conditions, using double-blind technique. Coding was changed daily, and 10 subjects were tested each day. Before any administration of drugs and drink, the subjects were instructed in the test procedures and apparatus by the same person in Read more […]

Alcohol and Amitriptyline Effects on Skills Belated to Driving Behavior

STUDY: Landauer, A.A., G. Milner, and J. Patman. Alcohol and Amitriptyline Effects on Skills Belated to Driving Behavior, Science, 163:1467-1468. 1969. Site: Department of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Western Australia and Mental Health Services of Western Australia, Claremont Hospital, Claremont, Western Australia. Subjects: The subjects were healthy medical students (18 men, 3 women) with a mean age 22.1 years (S.D. = 1.15). None of the subjects were taking any medication and none had a recent illness. They were divided into three groups of six men and one woman each. Method: Testing was performed under controlled laboratory conditions, double-blind. It began 2 hours after the second issue of tablets (see Dosage). After completion of first series of tests, subjects drank their preferred beverage over a period of 30 to 45 minutes in amounts calculated to bring their blood alcohol concentrations to 0.08% w/v. Fifteen minutes later, a Breathalyzer test was administered and the performance tests were repeated. After a meal, the subjects were medically examined, filled out a questionnaire, and were taken home. All data were statistically evaluated by analysis of variances. Parameters Read more […]

A Study of the Effects of Certain Tranquilizers and Small Amounts of Alcohol on Driving Performance

STUDY: Clayton, A.B., T.A. Betts, and G.M. Mackay. A Study of the Effects of Certain Tranquilizers and Small Amounts of Alcohol on Driving Performance. European J. Toxicol., 5:254-257. 1972. Site: Departments of Transportation, Environmental Planning, and Psychiatry, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Subjects: The 50 males and 50 females were mostly students, the mean age being 28.1 years. Their driving experience varied, and none normally took prescribed psychotropic medications. Method: Subjects performed closed-course driving-tests under controlled conditions. They were generally tested in groups of six, using a fixed routine. On Wednesday afternoon, subjects practiced for 1 hour on all driving tests at the driving site. They then received two unmarked bottles – one containg five drug tablets, the other five placebo tablets – along with directions of how and when to take them. (Both bottles used by the control group contained placebos.) One bottle was to be used first – one tablet Friday evening; three on Saturday (at intervals); and the fifth Sunday morning. Random double-blind administration techniques were used. On Sunday morning, subjects performed three runs on test 1, three runs on Read more […]

Effects of Four Commonly Used Tranquilizers on Low Speed Driving Performance Tests

STUDY: Betts, T.A., A.B. Clayton, and G.M. Mackay. Effects of Four Commonly Used Tranquilizers on Low Speed Driving Performance Tests. Brit. Med. J., 4:580-584. 1972. Site: Departments of Psychiatry and Transportation and Environmental Planning, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Subjects: There was a total of 113 volunteers, mostly students, the first 13 of whom were used in a pilot study testing vehicle handling techniques. They ranged in age from 18 to 30 years, and were free from medical or psychiatric problems. All had valid drivers licenses. Further information regarding driving experience was obtained during the testing. Method: The 100 nonpilot subjects (50 men, 50 women) were divided into five groups for testing and data analysis: (1) chlordiazepoxide vs. placebo; (2) haliperidol vs. placebo; (3) amobarbital vs. placebo; (4) trifluoperazine vs. placebo; and (5) placebo vs. placebo. The subjects were tested in groups of six every 2 weeks, with double-blind, randomized administrations. The fixed test procedure was to have the subjects who would be tested during a given fortnight come to a closed-course driving site on Wednesday afternoon. They were given (1) a visual screening test; Read more […]

Desipramine and Imipramine Alone and Together with Alcohol in Relation to Driving Safety

STUDY: Landauer, A.A., and G. Milner. Desipramine and Imipramine Alone and Together with Alcohol in Relation to Driving Safety. Pharmacopsychiatric Neuropsychopharmakologia, 4:265-275. 1971. Site: Department of Psychology, University of Western Australia, and Mental Health Services of Western Australia. Subjects: Twenty-seven medical students served as paid experimental subjects. Their mean age was 23.1 years (S.D. = 1.5), and mean weight was 73.7 kg (S.D. = 8.7). Method: In this controlled laboratory study, the subjects were randomly divided into three groups of nine each. The three groups received either imipramine, desipramine, or placebo, the drugs being administered in tablet form, one at night before the experiment and the second on the morning of the experimental day – i.e., at a 12- to 14-hour interval. Alcohol was diluted with lime juice, syrup, and water and had to be drunk in less than 15 minutes Subjects were required not to drink alcoholic beverages on the day before the test. On test day, after a light breakfast, a medical examination, and the second tablet dose, they were asked to complete a questionnaire rating themselves on their present state, and on anything felt or experienced since Read more […]

Effect of Treatment With Diazenam or Lithium and Alcohol on Psychomotor Skills Related to Driving

STUDY: Linnoila, M., I. Saario, and M. Maki. Effect of Treatment With Diazenam or Lithium and Alcohol on Psychomotor Skills Related to Driving: European J. of Clinical Pharm., 7:337-342. 1974. Site: Department of Pharmacology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland. Subjects: Twenty male students, 20 to 23 years old, volunteered. All used alcohol occasionally, none was obese, took drugs, or had any psychiatric disorders. Method: The double-blind, crossover, 2-week studies under controlled laboratory conditions measured the subacute effects of diazepam alone and in combination with alcohol, and those of lithium alone and in combination with alcohol. The test groups were coded as follows: Placebo drug, placebo drink P group Diazepam, placebo drink D group Lithium, placebo drink L group Placebo drug, alcohol A5 group Diazepam, alcohol DA5 group Lithium, alcohol LA5 group Testing took place on 7th and 14th days of the treatments. Effects of learning were excluded by allocating subjects at random according to Latin square design. Subjects were trained on apparatus used before the experiments. Each testing period consisted of three sets of tests 30, 90, and 150 minutes Read more […]


An assessment of the relationship between sedatives and driving accidents requires the survey of literature dealing with: (1) the effects of sedatives on actual driving behaviors, (2) the epidemiological studies of sedatives and traffic accidents, and (3) the physiological, psychological, and behavioral effects of sedatives on factors related to driving. Only a few studies have tested the effects of sedatives either in a simulator or in the field. Loomis and West () tested eight subjects in a driving simulator from 1 to 6 hours after they were given various drugs. The simulator consisted of an automobile steering wheel and brake accelerator pedals arranged as in a standard automobile. The steering wheel operated a model car placed on a moving belt 150 ft. long and 30 in. wide with an opaque l-in. strip running down it lengthwise, which simulated the road bed. The strip was shifted randomly, moving smoothly from side to side as the belt advanced. Accelerator and brake pedals actuated and controlled the rate of belt movement, and the steering wheel controlled the position of the model car. A light source placed 14 in. above the car was capable of producing an amber, red, or green light. The subject was required to Read more […]

General Tranquilizers

Current methodology for determining plasma levels of diazepam and its active metabolites employs electron-capture gas chromatography and can measure 1- to 10-ng quantities (). When a group of people are administered diazepam at a particular dose, there is a wide range of plasma concentrations of diazepam (). This range, in 13 subjects administered 15 mg of oral diazepam daily for a week or more, is 16 to 400 ng/ml (). Garattini et al. () found a range of 10 to 250 ng/ml in 27 subjects given a single 15-mg oral dose. A half-life of 38 to 92 minutes has been measured by this group in five female subjects. Kleijn et al. () calculated a half-life of 20 to 42 hours after 10 mg three times a day, about 0.5 mg/kg/day orally in five subjects. This great variability in plasma concentration is a major problem in interpreting drug effects on human performance. Perhaps the factors that influence plasma concentration curves can be identified and controlled. With seven subjects, Linnoila et al. () showed that ingestion of food increases plasma levels of diazepam 6, 7, and 8 hours after intravenous administration of 0.3 mg of diazepam per kg. They suggest that enterohepatic recycling of diazepam is occurring. Kleijn et al. () Read more […]

Drug Impairment Reviews: Anesthetics and Foreign Tranquilizers

STUDY: Doenicke, A., J. Kugler, M. Laub. Evaluation of Recovery “Street Fitness” by E.E.G. and Psychodiagnostic Tests After Anaesthesia. Can. Anaes. Soc. J., 14:567-583. 1967. (This study has been conducted in West Germany, but the address of the authors is not indicated in the reference.) Subjects: The total number of subjects is not evident but it must be above 200. Eighty-one subjects completed the psychomotor test battery. Demographic data on the subjects and descriptions of their health or drug use prior to the study are not given. They are, however, described as healthy volunteers. Method: This is an experimental study conducted in a clinical laboratory. The drugs administered as a single dose were thiobutabarbital (500 mg), methohexital (150 mg), and propanidid and C1-581 in doses which are not reported. Some subjects received repeated anesthesia but their number is not reported, nor is the order of or the interval between the anesthesias. Some subjects also received halothane, diethylether, or nitrous oxide after propanidid. Halothane was administered for 15 minutes. None of the concentrations of the inhalation anesthetics are reported in the text. EEG was continuously recorded for 12 or 24 hours Read more […]