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Medications and Safety Concerns. Donna R. Smith, Ph.D. Regulatory Affairs and Program Development Officer FirstLab, Inc. Photo Courtesy of the New Orleans Police Department. St. Petersburg, FL Sep 12, 2007.

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Medications and safety concerns

Medications andSafety Concerns

Donna R. Smith, Ph.D.

Regulatory Affairs and Program Development Officer

FirstLab, Inc.



St petersburg fl sep 12 2007
St. Petersburg, FL Sep 12, 2007

  • Six people injured in PSTA bus crash when driver crashed through trees & cars, and ended up inside a check cashing business in St. Petersburg

  • Police charged driver with felony DUI in October after receiving his blood test results, which showed he had Methadone, Alprazolam (Xanex) and Lorazepam in his system.

  • Driver was acting erratically prior to and after crash according to witnesses

  • Driver admitted taking medications to treat back pain

  • Driver had passed all DOT drug tests

  • Driver was terminated for failure to disclose medications to PSTA as required by their policy


New orleans bus accident ntsb report
New Orleans Bus Accident NTSB Report

  • Probable cause

    • Driver’s severe medical conditions

    • Medical certification system’s inability to remove driver from service

  • Contributing factors

    • Fatigue

    • Use of sedating antihistamine

    • Use of Marijuana

  • Released to work by several treating physicians


Legal vs illegal drugs
Legal vs. Illegal Drugs

  • NTSB, ONDCP, SAMHSA and other government agency studies indicate that abuse and misuse of prescription controlled substance medications is more prevalent than “illicit” drug use.

  • Dramatic increase in past decade in use of medications for chronic pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, & attention deficit disorders.

  • Abuse and misuse of prescribed meds takes several forms:

    • Use for longer than medically indicated

    • Use in dosages higher than recommended

    • Use in combination with other drugs & OTC meds

    • Use when performing tasks that are contraindicated


Dot drug testing limitations
DOT Drug Testing Limitations

  • DOT drug testing is limited by OTETA to Schedule I & II drug classes

  • Most painkillers, anxiety drugs, sleep aids, etc. are Schedule III, IV & V drugs

  • Largest class of painkillers, synthetic opioids, are not detected in DOT testing:

    • Oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, methadone

  • Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and propoxyphene are also not detected in DOT testing

  • Urine drug test does not indicate impairment, nor can it determine abuse or misuse of prescribed medications


DOT Guidance on Use of Prescribed Medications & Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Prescription medicine and OTC drugs may be allowed; however, you must meet the following minimum standards:

    • The medicine is prescribed to you by a licensed physician, such as your personal doctor.

    • The treating/prescribing physician has made a good faith judgment that the use of the substance at the prescribed or authorized dosage level is consistent with the safe performance of your duties.

    • The substance is used at the dosage prescribed or authorized.

    • If you are being treated by more than one physician, you must show that at least one of the treating doctors has been informed of all prescribed and authorized medications and has determined that the use of the medications is consistent with the safe performance of your duties.

  • Your employer may have specific requirements concerning the reporting or notification of your use of prescription or over the counter medications


Fmcsa driver medical standards
FMCSA Driver Medical Standards Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Specifically disqualifying medications

    • Insulin – all forms, unless given exemption

    • Seizure medication

    • Methadone—increasingly being prescribed for chronic pain

    • Modafinil—stimulant used to increase wakefulness, alertness


Mro safety concern on dot drug test
MRO Safety Concern on DOT Drug Test Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Issued by MRO when laboratory positive drug test is due to use of a prescribed or medically administered drug and MRO believes:

    • Use of prescribed medication poses a significant safety risk, or

    • Medical condition for which medication is prescribed may pose a significant safety risk

  • Test result will be reported as “Negative” with MRO comment of a safety concern

  • Employee is informed by MRO that safety concern is being reported to employer


Mro notice to donor
MRO Notice to Donor Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • MRO notifies donor that he/she can submit (within 5 days) documentation from prescribing physician that demonstrates:

    • Medication has been discontinued, or

    • changed to one that does not cause concern

  • If MRO receives such documentation, employer will be notified that safety concern is removed


Safety Concerns from Medical Review Officer Review Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

The medical review officer is required by 49CFR Part 40.327 to provide to third parties, drug test results and medical information affecting the performance of safety-sensitive duties which are obtained during the verification process.

Employee

Social Security or ID

Date of Specimen Collection

Date of MRO determination

As a result of the MRO verification process, the MRO has determined that in addition to the drug test result there is a:

Safety Concern – Medication –Employee has reported the use of medication(s) that may pose significant safety risk or may make the employee medically unqualified for a safety-sensitive position.

In accordance with §40.135 (c) the employee has been notified that they have 5 days for the prescribing physician to contact the MRO to determine if the medication can be changed to one that does not make the employee medically unqualified or does not pose a significant safety risk. Employer will be notified if this information is provided. If you do not receive an amended report, additional information that the medication was discontinued or changed was not provided

Additional information obtained from the treating provider on , that medication of concern has been discontinued or changed to one that does not present a safety concern

Additional information obtained from the treating provider on , that medication of concern has been changed, but to one that also presents a safety concern

Safety Concern – Medical Condition – Employee has disclosed a medical condition that may have an adverse impact on the safe performance of safety-sensitive duties--Recommend evaluation by Occupational Health professional

Safety Concern – Medical Condition – Employee has disclosed a medical condition that may result in the employee not meeting Federal medical standards - Recommend evaluation by Occupational Health professional/Medical Examiner.

Medical Review Officer Name: _________________________________________

Medical Review Officer Signature: _________________________________________

Date: _________________________________________


Employer actions on mro safety concern
Employer Actions on MRO Safety Concern Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Options for resolving safety-concerns

    • Have prescribing physician provide statement that employee is able to perform safety-sensitive duties while taking medications

    • Have employee undergo “fitness for duty” evaluation by employer designated physician

  • Important for employer to have medication policy and procedures in place

  • MRO cannot make “fitness for duty” recommendation based on donor interview and urine drug test result


Medication safety issues
Medication Safety Issues Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Possible “impairing” effects

  • Risks associated with medical conditions for which meds are being used

  • Interactions with other medications and OTC products

  • Compliance with recommended dosing

    • Dosage amounts

    • Timing of taking meds

  • Therapeutic course; acute vs. chronic

  • Employee lack of awareness of impairing effects


Medication use side effects of concern

Somnolence Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

Fatigue

Impaired judgment

Hypotension

Sedation

Erratic performance

Impaired reflexes

Dyskinesias and other neurologic dysfunction

Headaches

Muscle weakness

Visual disturbance

Medication Use Side effects of concern


Fta prescription and otc toolkit
FTA Prescription and OTC Toolkit Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Policies

  • Procedures

  • Training Aid

  • Post-Accident Procedures

  • Several lists of Rx and OTC medications used by various federal and private agencies

  • References and Resources

  • http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/Publications

  • http://transit-safety.volpe.dot.gov/safety/datesting/Presentations


Policy options
Policy Options Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Responsibility is placed on the employees to report & determine their own ability to safely perform their duties while using medications

  • Requiring authorization by medical practitioners that employee can safety perform duties while using prescribed medications

  • Use of a list of medications to guide employees and medical practitioners on which medication may or may not be used, and those medications that must be approved for use

  • Evaluation of employee’s fitness for duty based on prescribed medications by employer designated physician


Policy considerations
Policy Considerations Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Employees often under-report medications used

  • Reporting medical information to supervisors may place inappropriate level of responsibility and liability on them

  • Lists of acceptable and unacceptable medications are difficult to keep updated and all inclusive

  • Prescribing physicians are often unaware of employee’s duties or unwilling to risk their patients not being able to work

  • If having employee’s physician authorize employee working while taking prescribed meds, statement must be specific and include understanding of employee’s duties


Policy considerations1
Policy Considerations Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Use of DOT driver medical standards or equivalent with biennial physical examinations

  • Fitness for duty examinations by employer designated physician

  • Review of employee medication reports or personal physician statements by employer designated medical consultant

  • Annual review of employee’s medications/medical history

  • Ongoing employee education and awareness efforts, emphasizing new medications, medical facts, etc.


Rx otc drugs and performance
Rx & OTC Drugs and Performance Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Pain medicines – Codeine, Darvocet, Morphine, Vicodin, oxycontin

    Drowsiness Slower reaction times

    Mental confusion Anxiety

    Agitation Dizziness

    Blurred vision

  • Tranquilizers and Sedatives – Ativan, Diazepam, Xanax, Halcion, Valium,

    Drowsiness Amnesia

    Agitation Dizziness

    Weakness Unsteadiness

    Disorientation


Rx otc drugs and performance cont
Rx & OTC Drugs and Performance Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees(Cont.)

  • Muscle relaxers – Flereril, Parafon Forte, Robaxin

    Drowsiness Fatigue

    Nervousness Confusion

    Dizziness Visual disturbances

  • Anti-motion sickness – Antivert, Dramimine, Phenergan

    Drowsiness Restlessness

    Hallucinations Blurred vision


Rx otc drugs and performance1
Rx & OTC Drugs and Performance Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Antihistamines – Benadryl

    Drowsiness

    Slowed reactions

    Impaired vision

  • Stimulants – Sudafed, ephedrine, Aderall

    Jitteriness

    Diminished concentration

    False sense of alertness

    Irritability

    Post-high fatigue

  • Anti-smoking aide—Chantix

    • Dizziness, loss of consciousness, seizures


Current issues
Current Issues Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs by Safety-sensitive Employees

  • Dramatic increase in use of controlled substance medications to treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorders, in US population

  • Hundreds of new drugs on the market every year that have potential “impairing” effects

  • Medication interactions are often unknown and not monitored because people get multiple medications from several physicians

  • Aging population being prescribed more and more drugs

  • Painkillers, tranquillizers, sleep aides readily available via the internet and “walk-in” clinics


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