Carisoprodol, meprobamate, and driving impairment

Logan, B K. Case, G A. and Gordon, A M. wrote a paper in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in May 2000. It suggested that driving was impaired when using carisoprodol and its metabolite meprobamate. Literature implicating these drugs in impaired driving was reviewed. A series of 104 incidents in which these drugs were detected in the blood of drivers involved in accidents or arrested for impaired driving was considered, with respect to the analytical behaviors exhibited, and the symptoms observed in the drivers. Reporting driving behaviors included erratic lane travel, weaving, driving slowly, swerving, stopping in traffic, and hitting parked cars. Driver on contact with police had poor balance, slurred speech, unsteadiness, slow responses and difficulty standing. Many of these cases had alcohol and other centrally acting drugs present also making it difficult to attribute impairment specifically to carisoprodol and meprobamate. In 21 cases however, no other drugs were detected and similar symptoms were present. Impairment appeared to be possible at any concentration of these two drugs and the most overt symptoms of intoxication were noted when the combined concentration exceeded 10 mg/L, a level still within the normal therapeutic range.

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