Thursday, September 4, 2008

Don’t take the chance

We recently warned truckers about problems with two drugs – Byetta and Chantix. Both were the subjects of warnings from the FDA – the federal Food and Drug Administration.

But despite the evidence and warnings from that agency, at least one trucker thinks the warnings may have been overblown.

I think that trucker may have a point, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. If you’re taking Chantix, the FMCSA has told your doctor to revoke your medical certification to drive.

Here’s the key sentence from the statement by FMCSA Administrator John Hill:

“… It appears that medical examiners should not certify a driver taking Chantix because the medication may adversely affect the driver's ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.”

That may sound innocuous, but it means that you could be taken off the road. In this economy, I don’t know many truckers who can afford that kind of vacation.

And I’d add this – Chantix may well have worked well for you as an individual. I don’t doubt that one bit. And I absolutely believe that many, if not most, folks on the drug didn’t experience the side effects.

But that doesn’t mean it will work well for everyone, or that everyone won’t get the side effects.

The FDA issued the warning because so many folks did experience the negative side effects that it’s not worth the chance. The fact is, you don’t know till you take a drug whether you will experience bad effects or not, and in this case, it’s just too much of a gamble.

But even with that aside, truckers can’t work without medical certification. And I’d urge everyone out there to not take that risk.