The U.S. Food and Drug administration recently issued a public health advisory on Chantix concerning the drug’s potential side effects, including violent behavior and suicidal thoughts. Now, operators of semi trucks / tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicle operators are prohibited from using the drug. The FAA previously banned pilots from using the same drug over safety concerns.
The FMCSA, a division of the Department of Transportation, stated “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations for the medical qualification of interstate truck and bus drivers prohibit the use of prescribed substances or drugs that adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.”
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves medications for use, and has recently issued a public health advisory on Chantix (Varenicline). FMCSA’s rules defer to the physicians and health care professionals to determine driver medical fitness for duty, which includes when a medication has actual and potential side effects that could impact safe driving.”
“While we do not name any medications, such as Chantix, in FMCSA regulations, 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.”
Each year in Kentucky , there are hundreds of accidents involving tractor trailers/ semi-trucks due to driver error. Too often, these result in catastrophic injury or death. The FMCSA works to see that truck drivers operate in a safe manner.