Trying to figure out what medications will affect a driver’s ability to pass their DOT physical examination can be a confusing and stressful task for a driver or motor carrier. The first thought that comes to mind is that there is some sort of “magic bullet” that will provide a quick and easy answer to this question. Unfortunately this is not the case. There is more to it than simply being able to look up a medication and then having an answer. It involves not only a regulation or guidance provided by the FMCSA (of which there is very little in a way to help guide us through this issue), but also the treating provider and the decision making process employed by the medical examiner.
The proposed action from FMCSA is to retract the 2016 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Sleep Apnea. The FMCSA comment to OMB was that “Upon review of all public comments to the ANPRM, FMCSA has determined there is not enough information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action and so the rulemaking will be withdrawn…
This procedure falls into a category of heart condition called “Ischemic Heart Disease”. This means that there is a lack or reduced blood supply to the heart. This will lead to symptoms of chest pain which typically be following exertion or exercise. This symptom is referred to as angina. Angina can typically be treated with medication, dietary change and exercise and does not always need a stent. If the symptoms become more severe, and/or include chest pain at rest, is called unstable angina.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher risk of many chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. According to Harvard Medical School, people with hypertension, one night without enough sleep can cause elevated blood pressure (an issue for truck drivers) throughout the next day.
A recent report released in April by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) indicates that despite the good intentions of the FMCSA in implementing the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME), its impact on the trucking industry has apparently been more negative than positive, without accomplishing the desired results that were expected from additional training and certification for medical examiners.
What is different for truckers is that they are exposed to added stressors in life and are often driving alone, which make dealing with depression even more difficult. To add to the stress of trying to cope with one’s depression, a driver who suffers even a mild form of depression can have a delay in the medical certification. Therefore, staying on top of your depression and understanding how to manage it is essential in keeping you healthy and on the road! Remember – when you are not on the road, you are not making a living.
All individuals suffer from sleep apnea, women too! A study completed in 2013 at UCLA indicated that women are less likely however to be diagnosed with sleep apnea. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they suffer any less, or have different risk factors or consequences for suffering from it. It seems that women actually exhibit different symptoms
Blood pressure has long been a source of stress for the truck driver. It is frequently referred to as the silent killer by many of us who work in health care.
For years the FMCSA had indicated that once the driver has a diagnosis of high blood pressure, whether they are treated or not, the maximum that a driver can be allowed on the Med Cert. card would be one year. In recent years this has been changed a bit to benefit the driver who does all the right things.