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Medication Impact on Driving and Working



  • I really do not know... and that is a big statement for me :D I have to say "Ask you Doc about that" because I dont know if it such a small dose to affect only locally, or if it would affect you globally.

    Man, I wish I had an answer on that one.

    Anyways... Best of wishes to you
  • It's considered an auxiliary aid,

    As long as the use of the medication doesn't substantially limit your ability to perform job-related functions or require unreasonable accomodation, the employer cannot discriminate based on the reason for or the type of medication involved.

    Also, under ADA, you're not required to disclose a disability if you're not requesting accomodation. If you don't require accommodation for issues related to your pain medication, you're not required to disclose the details surrounding your use of the medication. The only information you're required to provide is proof that your use of the medication is legal, if you test positive on an employment-related drug screening.

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  • Absolutely correct-I did see all of these issues you've addressed here on the ADA website (and btw, I saw where you listed the link in another post-thank you). I'm glad that you're posting this information. There are so many members (and even guests) that are facing such struggles with their employers and I think it's imperative that they arm themselves with as much of this information as their brains can handle-for their own protection. I wish I had known more before things ended up the way they did with my own former job.

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of this stuff with us. I'm sorry that you had to learn it under the circumstances that you did, however. God bless you-you're a very strong woman to have endured all you have and still have such a great attitude. You're a prime example of the type of person I look up to, and that other members here can learn from your example and knowledge/experiences. Thanks again! :)
  • Wow, interesting post. I find i am in the position of being confused. I am in to much pain to do much driving (even with the meds). If so much stigma is applied to picking up scripts, why not go ahead and apply for disability? Whats the difference. I could care less what people say about me. If they aren't paying your bills, why bother with what they think. Im confused on the fact that if some peoples pain is so intense, how can they possibly work a 40 hour week just by taking pain meds? I find it impossible. Does this mean my meds arent strong enough? I'm on some pretty big stuff. I guess I'm lucky to have caring family and friends to help me get places when i need to go. I would never wanna jeopordize anyone elses safety because of my disability. I guess i have learned to live with my issues, and have asked those close to me to help me out. i WISH i could work a job on pain meds. If i were able to work a job and feel useful, i'd glady take a Tarc or carpool. Thanks for all the information. This was a great post. I had no idea that a person on pain meds could be given a DUI when the meds are prescribed by a doctor. I think everyone knows how their bodies respond to medications, and should make judgements that wont affect the rest of the world. I would almost bet my life that some people DO take more pain meds than needed. I used to work in a doctors office and you wouldnt believe the amount of people that come in claiming their meds were stolen or lost. What seemed to be the case alot of times, were that these people took MORE than prescribed to "get through the day". i can see this is a very touchy subject , but a great one. As far as the DUI goes, can't they tell by a blood test if you only have amounts prescribed in your system OR if you have taken more than prescribed? What constitues the DUI, just the fact that you have meds in your system? I am on extended release morphine (and i take it daily as prescribed). If i have to go to the store alone (which means im driving myself), i do it at a time of the day where i have not had to take my breakthrough meds. In my opinion, i guess people need to make the judgement call themselves. We all know after a few days on meds how our bodies will react, so i just hope everyone learns from these posts and does what they can to ensure the rest of the world is as safe as can be while those that do drive on pain meds are out there. I do agree that tylenol etc would be ok. Just talk to your doctors and pharmacists and dont drive until you are sure you can operate a vehicle safely.
  • cj062373 said:
    I find i am in the position of being confused. I am in to much pain to do much driving (even with the meds). If so much stigma is applied to picking up scripts, why not go ahead and apply for disability? Whats the difference.
    For me, the answer is simple. I don't qualify for disability because I don't have enough work credits in the correct time frame.

    I have to return to work and I have to make it through the 40-hour work week.
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  • downinmyheart said:
    It goes straight to the pain and most definately not to my head. Sometimes I wish it did though!

    I think if I were not in severe pain, I would definately be more suseptible to the euphoric side effects of drugs and alcohol.

    I would be a cheaper date too! :))(
    Cheep date huh ? :X >:D< :jawdrop:
    Dang girl you got it going on. ;) B)
  • I'm not positive this link will work, but I'll try. This is the abstract of a paper presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in 2007. It was a follow-up study to the one I posted previously. The reference to figure 1 in the last paragraph is a graph of the results, which is located on the original abstract page.


    October 17, 2007
    9:00 AM - 10:30 AM
    Room Room 120

    Does Chronic Intrathecal Opioid Treatment Adversely Affect Driving Skills?

    Asokumar Buvanendran, M.D., Mario Moric, Ph.D., Jeffrey S. Kroin, Ph.D., Nithya Venkatesan, M.D., Kenneth J. Tuman, M.D.
    Anesthesiology, Rush Medical College, Chicago, Illinois

    Introduction: Intrathecal opioid, via implantable pump systems, is an acceptable tool in the treatment of intractable chronic pain (J Pain Symptom Manage 1996; 11:71). No guidelines exist for deciding whether intrathecal opioid treatment, which is intended to reduce side effects such as sedation, impairs driving skills. This study is designed to use a driving simulator to allow us to address whether patient driving performance is affected by intrathecal opioids.

    Methods: The clinical trial compared 2 groups; IT Opioid: 35 patients receiving chronic intrathecal opioids at morphine equivalent doses of 1-10 mg/day; Control: 33 age-controlled subjects (not receiving narcotic medication). Exclusion criteria were any medical condition or medication that would prevent normal driving. Patients were consented (IRB) to take a validated 12 min test in a driving simulator in a quiet room. A 3 min practice phase preceded the evaluation phase. The driving simulator provides assessment on several outcome measures: attention, reaction time, etc. allowing us to specifically address questions pertaining to any cognitive or behavioral differences. Measures from the 2 groups were compared using Student t-test, Mann Whitney U test, and chi-square test as appropriate (Alpha=0.05). Schuirmann's Two-One Sided T-tests (TOST) of equivalence were used to statistically determine equality between the 2 groups (J Pharmacokin Biopharm 1987; 15:657-680). TOST is the FDA preferred method for clinical drug-drug interactions.

    Results: There were no demographic differences between the 2 groups: Controls 43.3 (1.5) y.o.; IT Opioid 45.4 (1.4) y.o. (mean (SEM)). The variation in the lateral deviation from center line was 3.77 (0.19) feet for Controls and 3.81 (0.18) feet for the IT Opioid group. Lateral deviations for specific time periods throughout the simulation are shown (fig). A t-test of this difference was not significant (P=0.134), so the TOST test of equality was performed and was significant (P<0.001) indicating both groups are equivalent. The other measure was reaction time. Again there were no significant differences between the 2 groups: Control 0.72 (0.04) sec, IT Opioid 0.69 (0.03) sec, P-value=0.617. TOST test of equivalence for reaction time was P=0.008. For both measures the TOST results indicated we should have been able to detect a difference if one existed, indicating similar driving performance of the two groups.<br />
    Discussion: There was no difference in deviation from the center line or reaction time between patients receiving chronic intrathecal opioid medication versus normal subjects. Although these results need to be confirmed with a larger number of patients and with additional measures of driving efficacy, this study can act as a guideline for discussing the issue of driving for patients taking intrathecal opioids.[figure1]

  • The only way this is connected is that he began with back pain, had spine surgery, couldn't get on top of his pain, did what he felt he had to do to survive. when prescribed drugs weren't doing the job, he turned to whatever he could get his hands on to give him some relief. Yes, he was a junkie, and so was she. But a drug is a drug is a drug. legal or not, drugs messed him up. Which came first, the chicken or hte egg. which came first? Back pain and Lortab. Which came last? Back pain and illegal street drugs. Which came last? you fill in the blank. Posted by Neck of Steel

    Neck, I am a bit late in coming into this, but I read your post on the other thread, and now again here.....
    I'm sorry about the loss of your brother. I know that it must be very painful for you to have lost him.
    But,and I am going to try to tread carefully here, but where is your brother's responsibility in this? It is not so much an argument over prescribed pain meds or street drugs, but more about his decision to use the street drugs in the first place? He made those choices to abuse the pain meds, and then seek out street drugs. It was not pain meds that he got, he got heroin and ice. And your SIL made the choice to take meds that didn't belong to her.
    We all have a responsiblity to make decisions responsibly, and it appears that your brother did not and neither did your SIL.
    I agree, if you are impaired by your meds, you have no business on the road.....totally agree with it. My husband is a police officer and I have had to hold him while he cried after another fatal traffic accident to feel any other way.
    After both of my surgeries, when my surgeon told me not to drive, I did not. When he finally released me to drive again, he cautioned me about meds and driving. He tested my reflexes, reaction times, coordination etc. Then he told me that he considered me safe to drive, however he did advise me that in our state that I could be charged with DWI here if I had an accident.
    I also agree that there are many, many medications, many over the counter medications that advise a person to excercise caution when operating machinery or driving. Benedryl is one of them, so are most other antihistimines, blood pressure meds, seizure meds, to name a few.
    I try very hard to schedule my activites outside that require driving around my med schedule. I have my husband drive if he is home, however, we have 4 children, and there are times that I simply can not avoid driving. I will skip a dose to drive them somewhere, even while I know that my reaction times and reflexes are not impaired by the meds that I take. How do I know that? I ask my PM to check periodically, especially a few weeks after an adjustment in dose. I use reasonable caution to keep myself, my family and everyone else on the road as safe as I can reasonably be.
    I do understand that others need to drive to work, and I know that most here, use those same precautions that I do, to prevent causing harm to themselves and everyone else.

    Again, I am truly sorry for your loss. It is tragic, but the decisions that your brother and SIL made to use heroin and ice played a huge part in the tragedy that your family has suffered.
  • That is very good information to know.

    Yesterday while thinking about all of this, I did check my own employers policy regarding drug use. And they say pretty much the same thing. As long as you are not impaired from doing your job, prescribed medications are not a problem.

    I think it is imperative for all of us to be aware of all the laws and policies that apply to drug use in our lives (employment and the state in which we live).
  • weakback said:
    downinmyheart said:
    It goes straight to the pain and most definately not to my head. Sometimes I wish it did though!

    I think if I were not in severe pain, I would definately be more suseptible to the euphoric side effects of drugs and alcohol.

    I would be a cheaper date too! :))(
    Cheep date huh ? :X >:D< :jawdrop:
    Dang girl you got it going on. ;) B)
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