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PhD ceremony Ms. S.P. Monteiro: Driving-impairing medicines and traffic safety. Patients' perspectives

When:Mo 07-04-2014 at 11:00
Where:Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

PhD ceremony: Ms. S.P. Monteiro

Dissertation: Driving-impairing medicines and traffic safety. Patients' perspectives

Promotor(s): prof. J.J. de Gier

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences

The main results of the research of Susana Monteiro have shown that patients’ awareness regarding the influence of driving-impairing medicines on driving fitness is low and therefore patients do not often refrain from driving while taking driving-impairing medicines. Professional guidelines to support healthcare providers during the dispensing and prescribing process of driving-impairing medicines are scarce throughout Europe. Epidemiological studies have shown a positive association between the exposure to driving-impairing medicines (DIMs) and the risk of having a traffic accident. Despite the increased consumption of these medicines throughout Europe, studies on patients’ knowledge and awareness regarding the influence of DIMs on driving fitness, as well as healthcare professionals’ role during the prescribing and dispensing of DIMs, are scarce. In order to provide more insight, several studies were conducted by Susana Monteiro. The main objectives were to evaluate patients’ knowledge on this topic, as well as developing tools, such as a pictogram, a categorization system and a training course for pharmacists, to raise patients’ and HCPs’ awareness regarding the risks of driving under the influence of DIMs.

The main results showed that patients’ knowledge regarding the influence of DIMs on driving fitness can still be improved and new strategies are needed to change patients’ driving behaviour. Additionally, the way the information is communicated to patients, as well as the type of information provided which contributes to increase patients’ knowledge, can also be enhanced. The developed pictogram was not fully self-explanatory in conveying safety-related messages, stressing the importance of complementary information provided by the HCPs. However, HCPs have shown the need for decision support tools on how to communicate risk messages to their patients. The categorization system, as developed, could be seen as a tool to address the needs of HCPs, since it may not only motivate HCP-patient discussions but would also allow tailoring the information according to patients’ needs.

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