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Old 11-28-2012, 09:49 PM
 
10,187 posts, read 10,555,957 times
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Here's the situation:

I have been on clonazepam therapy for 13 years -- 1mg per day. Im 62 now and clean DMV record. My worry: should I get into an accident that's my fault I'm afraid my auto insurance co. (AAA) will use this as an excuse to deny my claim and I will be on the hook for considerable damages. At that low dose it doesn't affect my coordination in any way, as evident I've been driving 13 years w/o an accident, except for the one that wasn't my fault that put me on the med.

I've never thought to bring the issue up with my insurance co but do you think maybe it would be wise to let them know and then let them make a decision about whether or not they want to continue coverage? From what I read I estimate that 75% of people in this country are on some kind of meds that an insurance co could argue probably impaired their judgement, yet I don't see this becoming an issue in the media. Am I making a mountain out of a molehill or this this something I should genuinely be concerned about? I do have considerable assets.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:56 PM
 
Location: earth?
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Wow.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:03 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
15,824 posts, read 4,941,864 times
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I didn't know that insurance companies were allowed access to your medical records. Aren't there privacy laws against that? Unless you were clearly impaired when you had the accident, I doubt if the police, the insurance company or anyone else would even care what medications you're on. I'd say keep your mouth shut and don't give the insurance company an excuse to cancel your insurance or raise your rates.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Lompoc,CA
1,260 posts, read 4,537,578 times
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I dont think you have anything to worry about. This low of a dose for 13 yrs,really shouldnt impair your judgement or driving.

I would just carry on doing what your doing..

Deb
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:14 AM
 
Location: Bucks, UK
523 posts, read 3,284,263 times
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for what reason are you on clonazepam anyway? it is generally used for seizures, which would represent the bigger issue with driving than the med itself.

i would look carefully at the drug facts (or equivalent) in your country - there should be something about ability to drive in there - if you have concerns, i would speak to your doctor - you might be able to convince him to write a letter concerning your fitness to drive (both with respect to seizures & clonazepam use) - which would be better to have before any potential future accident, than to be issued retrospectively.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:19 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,669,759 times
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If you're taking seizure meds for seizures, the DMV should already be aware of it, and it should already be on your driver's license in a code somewhere on the front or back. It's typically treated the same way that wearing glasses to correct a visual impairment is treated. The only way you'd get in trouble, is if you were -not- wearing those glasses when you had the accident. So with your situation, if you caused an accident and the police had reason to perform drug-testing on you, they *should* find the drug in your blood. That would prove that you are, in fact, controlling your impairment.

But that's only if the police have reason to perform a drug test on you. The insurance company has no way of knowing if you are/are not taking a controlled substance, without someone requiring you to take a test. And the insurance company isn't going to be at the scene of the accident to demand such a thing, so really I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
21,535 posts, read 26,155,710 times
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There are valid medical indications to take clonazepam, including anxiety. People can and do take it and drive safely.

What you fear has more to do with law enforcement than your insurance company, however.

I am aware of a local case where a woman was involved in an accident. The officer who investigated asked everyone involved about medications and this woman honestly admitted to what she was taking.

She was arrested for driving under the influence. Her psychiatrist successfully argued that the medication, the dose she was taking, and the timing of the last dose before the accident would preclude her being impaired at the time of the incident. He told the judge that having her drive and have a panic attack because she was not on medication would not be in the best interest of anyone. He also pointed out to the court that it was not the purpose of the justice system to discourage people from taking medications which have legitimate uses.

By now, your blood levels of the drug have reached a steady state and the effects should be predictable. Do not drive if you are tired and might simply fall asleep due to fatigue.

If you carry your medication with you, do keep it in the original pharmacy container.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Lompoc,CA
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Clonazepam is not just used for siezures!! also for anxiety!

Greenchili
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
27,595 posts, read 17,689,431 times
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As suzyq2010 outlined so well in her post, it is a valid concern. I'm not aware of any rules though of how much is considered safe to drive (like alcohol limits).

Is it possible that when you know you are going to drive you do not take the medication?
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Old 11-29-2012, 12:30 PM
 
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Thanks much for all the helpful replies. Here's the situation:

It was originally prescribed for myoclonus (involuntary muscle jerking) that resulted from an episode of clinical depression that came on shortly after the initial accident in which I sustained a subdural hematoma. Once on the clonazepam for a few years it was too difficult to get off (ensuing insomnia) so I decided to just stay on it for life. Never had to up the dose in the 13 years---no tolerance problems. It works wonderfully.

Quote:
I didn't know that insurance companies were allowed access to your medical records. Aren't there privacy laws against that?
There are no issues before an accident--the ins co is more than happy to take your premiums no questions asked. It's only after the accident that they go over everything with a fine tooth comb looking for an excuse to deny your claim, including investigating if you were on meds at the time of the accident that might have impaired your driving skills. Then they can search anything they want. You've heard of the patient who was denied cancer treatment because the ins co found out she was treated for a hangnail years before that "could have" caused the cancer?

Quote:
I am aware of a local case where a woman was involved in an accident. The officer who investigated asked everyone involved about medications and this woman honestly admitted to what she was taking.

She was arrested for driving under the influence. Her psychiatrist successfully argued that the medication, the dose she was taking, and the timing of the last dose before the accident would preclude her being impaired at the time of the incident.
See, this is exactly what I want to avoid. It's a catch-22. The police ARE going to ask if you're taking any meds. You can lie and risk perjury, or you can tell the truth in which case you end up like this woman---$100,000 poorer after legal fees.

The last thing a person wants to do is give an insurance co an excuse to deny your claim. Trust me, they WILL find out you're taking meds, it's just a question of whether the Dr. can successfully argue it should have had nothing to do with your ability to drive without impairment.

Quote:
Is it possible that when you know you are going to drive you do not take the medication?
Not really in that the med can be stopped for an indeterminate period. It's 1mg before I go to bed every night, but it's long acting so it stays in the blood for 24 hours. But as someone pointed out it peaks in the bloodstream and then stays the same titer forever until the dose is upped.
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