Last updated: October 2, 2023
Information DOT employers should provide to their DOT covered employees:
Federal Drug and Alcohol Testing regulations do not address the use of legally prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medications. However, most employers are adopting policies and procedures that include a requirement of employees to notify a supervisor of medication use and, in some cases, the requirement of a physician’s release form for medication use by safety-sensitive employees. If you are not aware of your employer’s policy regarding prescription and OTC medication use, you should ask your supervisor for further information.
The following are suggested “common sense” practices to follow:
- Inform your physician of your safety sensitive position and explain your job duties (do not assume that your physician will recall your occupation, even if it is a doctor that you see regularly). Be sure to let your physician know about any medications that you are already taking, as this will help to avoid complications from drug interactions.
- Solicit information from your pharmacist, who can provide you with a list of side effects, potential drug interactions, dosage requirements, and suggested dosage times.
- Read and follow the warning labels on all prescription and OTC medication bottles, and read the literature that accompanies prescribed medications.
- Follow the medication dosage instructions. Never increase the amount or frequency with which you take a medication without consulting your physician. Over-medicating is a form of prescription drug abuse.
- After taking a medication, monitor your reaction and note any side effects or impairment, such as dizziness or disorientation. If possible, take a newly-prescribed medication at home for a day or two before reporting to duty.
- If you experience side effects or impairment, immediately call your physician, explain your concerns, and ask for an alternative medication. If the side effects are caused by an OTC medication, consult your pharmacist for a substitute.
- Some employer policies require you to report your medication use to your supervisor. Even if your employer does not require this, it is highly recommended.
- Never perform a safety-sensitive job function while impaired. It is your responsibility to determine your own fitness for duty. Report any impairment to your supervisor immediately.