Unfortunately, this almost always causes a major disruption in the driver’s ability of making a living. As President of the largest network of DOT Certified Medical Examiners, I frequently get calls from drivers who have been disqualified. I am usually able to help these drivers resolve these issues so they can keep truckin. Here is some of the advice I often give:
There is only one medication that is always disqualifying: Marijuana
The use of Marijuana (with or without a prescription) will always be disqualifying. Of course, the use of a long list of Schedule I & II medications without a valid prescription will also be disqualifying.
Other medications that are no longer on the list of “absolute disqualifying” include insulin, Chantix, Methadone, and Saboxone.
If a driver has a disqualifying medical condition, it will be the medical condition that will cause the driver to be disqualified, not the medication being taken to treat the condition. For example, if a driver is taking Methadone or Saboxone for a current diagnosis of opioid addiction, they would be disqualified due to the condition. However, if a driver is taking either medication for pain relief, or was in remission of the opioid addiction and taking the medication for maintenance therapy, the driver could be qualified to drive with a letter from their treating provider stating that they are safe to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
All other medications can be considered for use in commercial driving.
There are still a few restrictions that apply to certain medications when used to treat certain medical conditions. Drivers with a history of stroke cannot be taking anticoagulant medication. Also, if you are taking an anti-convulsant medication to prevent seizures, you are only allowed to drive across State lines if you obtain a Federal Seizure exemption. If only driving within your State, check your State medical requirements for driving a commercial vehicle and see what State exemptions/waivers can be obtained.
Partner with a knowledgeable Medical Examiner for the best outcome.
If taking medications with serious side effects or that may be subject to disqualification, there are guidelines medical examiners should follow that greatly increase the driver’s chances of being issued a medical certificate.
This is discussed in our next blog: CDL Medication Use: Don’t be Disqualified! Part 2 [CONTINUE READING]
Dr. Michael Megehee, NRCME