Why would my husband have a driving restriction after having a seizure?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My 76 year old husband (for the first time in his life) had two seizures last week. The hospital ran EEG, EKG, MRI and cat scan. He started on Aricept two and half months ago (early cognitive dementia) and Celexa five days before the seizures. When admitted to the hospital, his sodium level was below normal. It appears the seizures were caused by a chemical imbalance created by one or several of the medications. He has been released from the hospital with a caution of NO DRIVING FOR 3 MONTHS. What is the logic behind this restriction?

Expert Answers

Elizabeth Dugan, a Fellow of the Gerontology Institute, University of Massachusetts Boston, is the author of Driving Dilemma: The Complete Resource Guide for Older Drivers and Their Families.

Thank you for your question about seizures and driving restrictions. Medical conditions that alter our level of consciousness impact our ability to drive safely. The more abrupt the change in consciousness, the greater the likelihood of a crash. Seizures are as abrupt as you can get. So most states require a period of time (3 months or 6 months) when the driver has been seizure free before allowing them back behind the wheel. However, very often states (specifically, the Medical Affairs division of your state licensing authority) will be more flexible because of individual clinical factors. In your husband's case it appears the seizure was not due to epilepsy, but was an acute reaction to polypharmacy. I think it would be worth contacting the licensing authority to see if the 3 month restriction could be reduced. Good luck!