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Nytol and Flight Crew drug testing

flight-crew

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Does anyone know if Nytol (over the counter sleep aid) shows up in a Flight Crew drug test?.... I guess what I'm asking is more specifically, are they even looking for it in the drug test? The active incredient is --> Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride.

To the best of my knowledge, I thought they were only looking for stimulants like marujana and cocaine.... and of course alcohol. Maybe someone on here knows the specifics of what the lab actually tests for? I'd also like to see a list of what specific drugs they test for.
 

captjim

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Good question, I woundered the same thing. I've thought about using that stuff, but was worried it might cause a drug test to be positive. Anyone, anyone, anyone?
 

MetroSheriff

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Here is a copy of the section on sleep aids from the ALPA aeromedical branch:

Sleep-inducing medications: None of the OTC sleep preparations, including Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Excedrin PM, are allowed for flight deck use and require waiting 12-24 hours from last dose to flight duty. Prescription medications such as Sonata, Halcion and Restoril are not approved for airmen. Those pilots taking Ambien (zolpidem), another prescription medication, must wait 24-48 hours after the last dose before flying. The USAF has waived the use of Ambien in its pilots after ground testing and in very specific controlled situations. Sonata, a newly released sleep product, is not approved by the FAA. Sonata was approved by the USAF for ground use by aircrew in controlled situations.

Dietary supplements, such as melatonin, reportedly help reduce sleep problems. The FAA generally allows airmen to use these supplements if those airmen do not suffer side effects from them. However, claims about these dietary supplements' benefits in treating insomnia and "jet lag" often are overstated. Some individuals have significant side effects from these "natural" supplements. A future VFS article will address sleep disturbances and strategies for effective sleep.

Hope this helps.
 

SDdriver

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Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride is just Benadryl. It is masked as an over the counter sleep aid because Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride has a side effect of making you drowsey. So I would easily say that NO it wouldn't even show up because,

A. It is not a controled substance.

B. They are not even testing for that substance.

C. If it was off limits, we would all be screwed as far as ever having any sinus problems. Say you had a sinus cold 4 days before you needed to fly, you took Benadryl to combat the symptoms whiel you let the infection run it's course, it would still be in your system the day you flew, even though you did not take it that day. Talk about suck. I have a damm sinus cold right now and that stuff is the only thing that can get me through the day without ripping my nose off, of course I don't have to fly again for a week so I guess I am ok.

Anyway, I wouldn't even worry about Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride.

If you are using it for sleep, I would look more into why you are not sleeping in the first place. If you isolate the problem that is causing you not to sleep i.e.(Stress, Diet, caffine, relationships, bed, ect...) you should be able to solve it without drugs..Good luck..

SD
 

flight-crew

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Hey SDdriver, thanks for the excellent reply on that one.

I have used Melatonine and I don't find it very effective (at least with me). Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride (Nytol) seems to work very well with me. I don't have a sleeping problem. It's more that my flight schedule is constantly changing. Sometimes I will be on duty all night long (continuous duty overnight)... and sleep during the day. Or sometimes I might have a really early get-up, and I want to go to bed early. Hitting the gym really hard before I go to bed helps, but Nytol works the best.

You are right in that it is basically Benadryl. I don't think the FAA is testing for sinus and cold medication - really! They would in effect, be testing for antihistamines.
 

SDdriver

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I know how you feel about the odd times and duty days changing from one day to the next. I have similar problems. Working out a few hours before bed and then eating a good dinner helps a lot for me also. I have found though if you take Nytol or similar stuff, after awhile your body will build a resistance to it and it wil not be as effective. I know that drugs with anahistimines are not approved for use before I think 8 or 12 hours before flying, since they will cause you to be drowsy. As far as drug test they are broken down into 3 catagories.

1. Cannabis ( marajuana)
2. Opiates (Herion, pain killers, and such)
3. Amphetamines ( Cocaine, Meth-amphetamines,and such).

Then you have your alchohol test. Some analgesics will show also show on a drug screen, because they are a form of pain reliever.

Unless what you are taking specificly fits in those catagories it will not show positive on the drug screen. I have seen in testing though that sometimes there are false positives. I worked in a lab for awhile and have seen people test positive when they take some types of herbal drugs and things such as Mini Thins. I would avoid all of those types of drugs, even though they are over the counter, they are not FDA approved (herbal stuff I mean) and the long term effects are really unknown on most of these things. Also if you work out a lot be careful about what type of supplements you take. Some of these drugs can have advese effects on the body and be detrimental to someone in our profession.

I have found that a good diet, high in protien and low in carbohydrates, and staying away from lots of caffeine helps when you have an ever changing schedule. I think a lot of problems result when people endulge in large amounts of carbohydrates. Carbs are just extra energy and cause the bodys blood sugar to spike and give you a boost of energy, but after that you will bottem out and get tired at the wrong times. If you limit the amount of Carbs you take in and provide your body with a lot of protien during the day it will help to keep your body at a more consistant level through the day and when it comes time to sleep you won't have an over amount of extra energy that needs to be burned off. I hope all of this helps and if you have any other questions feel free to ask. Take care, stay healthy, and by all means fly safe.

SD
 

MetroSheriff

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FWIW, and for future reference, here is what the FAA and ALPA have to say about Benadryl and the like:

Allergy and cold medications: The over-the-counter (OTC) decongestants pseudoephedrine (the active ingredient in plain Sudafed) and phenylpropanolamine, if they do not contain any antihistamines, are authorized. Note that the FDA has recalled phenylpropanolamine (PPA) because of cardiac arrhythmias and deaths associated with its' use. In general, only the "non-drowsy" or "daytime" products should be used. Additionally, the prescription non-sedating antihistamines Claritin and Allegra are authorized for flight deck use following a 48 hour ground test free of side effects. Currently, the FAA does not approve the prescription antihistamines Zyrtec or Astelin for use during flight duty. Use of these medications requires a 24-36 hour grounding period following the last dose. See Allergies in the VFS Medical Information Center.

All other OTC cold and allergy medications require that you wait twice the dosing interval since your last dose of the medication before you fly again. In other words, if the label states, "Take every 6 hours," you must wait at least 12 hours since your last dose before flying again.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on 7 March 2000 demonstrated that the effect of taking Benadryl, an OTC antihistamine, impaired driving performance significantly more than a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1% (legally intoxicated) or Allegra, a "non-sedating" antihistamine. It also demonstrated that subjective drowsiness was not an accurate measure of driving performance. Two of the study's authors are consultants to the manufacturer of Allegra, which may introduce some bias in the results.

Many liquid and inhalant medications contain alcohol, which may produce a positive reading if you take an alcohol breath test. The FARs prohibit airmen from ingesting alcohol in any form within 8 hours of flying. Some prescription cough medications contain codeine, a narcotic which is prohibited for use within 24 hours of flight. VFS physicians recommend a 72 hour waiting period from the last dose of a narcotic before flying if a pilot subject to DOT drug testing to avoid the possibility of a positive drug test for opiates.
 

flight-crew

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SDdriver, just to clarify... are you 110% sure that the FAA doesn't even test for OTC sleep aids or Benadryl? How do you know all of this? Is there some type of web site that specifically tells what they test for?

Thanks again for all your info.
 

MetroSheriff

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Flight-crew,

Unless you bend some aluminum, you should not be tested for sleep aids. However, that does not mean that is legal to use them within the prescribed time frame. I am assuming you have worked long and hard to get where you are/are going, keep that in mind. Better safe than sorry.

The idiots (AWA, Mesa, ASA) who have recently been in the news for alcohol related incidents are the of the paragon stupidity. A hard lesson to be learned about the pitfalls of pi$$ poor judgement. Best to learn from their stupidity, and be extra cautious during this phase of extra scrutiny.

Some info for your perusal:

Aeromedical Report: Random Drug Tests
Air Line Pilot, January 1999, page 5

By Dr. W. Keith Martin, ALPA Associate Aeromedical Advisor

What drugs is a pilot tested for under the random mandatory drug testing required by Department of Transportation/FAA regulations?

The five major groups of drugs screened are marijuana metabolites, cocaine metabolites, opiate (heroin, morphine, codeine, etc.) metabolites, phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust), and amphetamines.

Be aware, however, that testing under other authority, such as drug testing requested by the NTSB following an accident, may screen for additional drugs. In any event, you are cautioned to be sure that the FAA allows any medication prescribed for you or that you buy over-the-counter medicine for use while on flight duty.

If I have recently taken a medication, should I report it to the person collecting my urine?

No. The collector cannot ask for, nor should you provide, any information at the time of urine collection concerning your recent use of medication. DOT’s drug-testing rules do not allow the collector to ask questions about your recent use of medication. You will be given a copy of the collection form. We recommend that if you have recently taken any medication, prescription or otherwise, that you note this on the back of your copy of the collection form. The note will serve as a reminder if you need it later.
and

Aeromedical Report, Air Line Pilot, June/July 1998, page 5

Drug Testing

By Dr. Quay C. Snyder, ALPA Associate Aeromedical Advisor


Department of Transportation drug testing is designed to detect illegal drug use. Almost all medications prescribed by physicians are excluded from the DOT testing program. Many prescribed medications are legal for a pilot to use while flying—after (1) an appropriate ground testing period to ensure that the pilot does not suffer harmful side effects from the medication and (2) improvement in the underlying condition (see "What Can I Take and Still Fly?" June/July 1997, for FAA policies on specific categories of medications).

The DOT drug testing program screens urine for the presence of five compounds—phencyclidine (PCP, "angel dust"), which has no approved medical use, and four substances that have rare medical uses (cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, and narcotics). All of these substances are commonly used as drugs of abuse. The FAA does not grant any waivers to pilots for flying with any medical condition that justifies treatment with these drugs. While alcohol testing is intended to determine impairment by a legal substance, drug testing is conducted to detect the presence of an illegal substance.

Occasionally, a pilot may be prescribed a narcotic medication for a brief period of time after surgery or an injury. Examples include dental surgery, severe strains, and minor nondental surgery. Pilots should not fly for at least 3 days after taking the last dose of a narcotic medication.

Although narcotics are the only category of medication that require a physician to confirm that physical evidence of narcotic abuse exists before considering a drug test positive, the prudent pilot will avoid the possible administrative inconveniences of a positive screening test for narcotics.

Remember that using narcotics not specifically prescribed for the patient—for example, sharing a spouse’s prescription—is illegal. For more information about drug testing, see "Drug and Alcohol Testing Rules: A Revisit, Parts I and II," August and September 1996.

Hopefully these passages will help. Any other questions, fire away.
 
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surplus1

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Metro Sheriff,

You're doing an excellent job of trying to help and publishing the accurate information from people who's job it is to know, not guess. Nice work.

Apparently there are still folks, including in this thread, who either will not read or will not listen to what they do read. Oh well, they've been warned.

Thanks again.
 

SDdriver

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I can't say that I am 110% sure that they won't test for OTC items such as Benadryl. I can say from working in the testing field for a few years that standard drug test do not test for those type drugs. Like I had said before, they normally just test for
Amphetamines, Methamphetamine, Barbiturates,
Benzodiazepines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates, PCP, and Tricyclics.
Most all of these items are illegal or must be used by Rx only and all of them are mood altering whch is why they are not allowed.
There are custom test that can be administered that can test for just about anything, but something you need to think about is if the FAA wanted to test for things such as Benadryl and such, can you imagine the amounts of OTC medications they would have to test for. There are hundereds of OTC medications that you shouldn't take and fly, but you are ok to take them if you allow the required amount of time to elapse before flying. Drug screening is expensive enough as is, but if you added all of those OTC medications it would be very time consuming and very expensive.

Rule of thumb,

Don't take anything before flying that has a warning label that says do not operate heavy machinery or that this product may cause drowsenss.

If you need to take something like Benadryl for sinus problems then I would get something that is in its non-drowsy form. You will be fine with that.
In your original post however you were refering to using the product at night to help you sleep. In that case I would be aware of the time constraints involved in taking that medication and flying. The above posters posted those time constraints, but as far as testing positive on a drug screen for Dipahydramine, I would say if it is a standard drug test, no I don't see how you could test positive for something that you are not even being tested for. Here is a web site that shows approved medications for FAA

http://www.leftseat.com/medications.htm

In here it says things such as Benadryl are not approved, that is because it has an antihistimine and a side effect of antihistamines is drowsyness.
If you are concerned about using it the day before you fly and then being randomly drug tested and it showing up on your test, I would not be to concerned. Things such as antihistamines are not tested for in standard drug screens. If you need solid confirmation then I would suggest calling a local drug screening facility and ask them if antihistimines will show up on a standard drug screen, I am pretty sure they will say no, but I would suggest calling them just for your own piece of mind and so that you can sleep better at night knowing for sure :) No pun intended...well maybe just a small one..haha..Take care and feel free to ask anything else if you need..

SD

P.S. If you were curious how I know about a lot of this it is because I worked in a Psychiatric and Chemical Dependency Unit for several years and we did our drug and alchohol testing at our facility and for us to be able to test for anything that was out of the ordinary like Benadryl and OTC medications we had to request specificly what we were wanting to test for. If you just wanted to do a standard drug screen for employment then it would just screen for the drugs I had mentioned in the beginning of this post.
 

flight-crew

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I'd like to say thanks to both MetroSheriff and SDdriver for the great info. It's people like you who make this board so informative.
 

SDdriver

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Surplus1,

If you are referring in anyway shape or form to me, I believe that I have essentially just paraphrased what Metrosherrif has cut and pasted. I am not guessing about anything, all of the things in my post that I have STATED can be backed up by plenty of literature. I am certinly not asking anyone to take my word for it, everyone should research the things they are concerned about. As you see in my post if there was anything that I wasn't sure about, I claimed it and suggested that more research be done in that area. Remember it is a forum for anyone to post thier opinions or experience, I was speaking from my experience in that specific field.
If we all just cut and pasted why would we even need a forum?


P.S. Metrosherrif, I also think you have done a good job to add to the concerns of this thread poster.
 

mckpickle

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What about Viagra?????????

Come on now everyone was thinking it :)
 

MetroSheriff

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mckpickle said:
What about Viagra?????????

Come on now everyone was thinking it :)

I was afraid someone would ask...LOL. McPickle, let me guess, you are asking for a friend of your's, right??? Just kidding.

In case any of you fellas are having trouble "staying on glide slope", so to speak:( , may I offer the following information:

From ALPA Aeromedical

Male Impotence medication: FDA recently authorized Viagra (sildenafil citrate) as the first oral form of treatment (pill) for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. The FAA recommends that the medication be used strictly in the dosages recommended by the manufacturer and all contraindications (reasons not to use the medication) be strictly observed. Pilots should not use Viagra within 6 hours of performing their (aviation) duties. The VFS section on Viagra contains extensive information from many sources and a link to the Federal Air Surgeon's Bulletin article on Viagra. Uprima has not yet been approved by the FDA.
I like the part about 6 hours. If you need to take Viagra within 6 hours of performing your (aviation) duties, you need to ask crew scheduling for a new FO.:eek:
 
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mckpickle

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hum hum you said duties! Certainly looks a new perspective on the stick pusher!
 

Typhoon1244

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MetroSheriff said:
If you need to take Viagra within 6 hours of performing your (aviation) duties, you need to ask crew scheduling for a new FO.:eek:
Gives a whole new meaning to being "extended..."
 

surplus1

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SDdriver said:
If we all just cut and pasted why would we even need a forum?
What Metro Sheriff is "cutting and pasting" are the opinions of the Agency and medical doctors whose profession is dedicated to the protection of airmen and their certificates. There is no better source of accurate information for pilots.

Don't be so sensitive. I'm not challenging your work in the testing field. However, no matter how many years you may have worked as a tester, unless you're and MD whose specialty is aero medicine, I'll stick with them.

Yes, this is a forum and a place for opinions. When an airman's career could be at stake, opinions are no substitute for facts. An unknown and anonymous source such as me or you, is just not a good substitute for the "official" statements of specialists in the field. That I implied as much, is not a reason for you to be offended.

Your posts are informative and appear to be well versed, but I don't know who you are, just like you don't know who I am. I do know who the men that wrote what Metro posted are.

Hope that clarifies. It's nothing personal.
 

dashtrash

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Sddriver,

Your breakdown of a diet to be Carb vs. Protien is not accurate. I suggest you read any college level basic nutrition book and not the "Atkins Diet Revoloution."
 

SDdriver

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The Yale Guide to Nutrition:

Simple sugars require little digestion, and when a person eats a sweet food, such as a candy bar or a can of soda, the glucose level of the blood rises rapidly. In response, the pancreas secretes a large amount of insulin to keep blood glucose levels from rising too high. This large insulin response in turn tends to make the blood sugar fall to levels that are too low 3 to 5 hours after the candy bar or can of soda has been consumed. This tendency of blood glucose levels to fall may then lead to an adrenaline surge, which in turn can cause nervousness and irritability... The same roller-coaster ride of glucose and hormone levels is not experienced after eating complex carbohydrates or after eating a balanced meal because the digestion and absorption processes are much slower.

I was not trying to promote the Atkins diet. I was just staing that large amounts of SIMPLE Carbohydrates can help cause problems for some people when trying to relax or sleep at night. If you read your nutrition book you would understand that Carbs are broken down into sugar as stated above. THis was the rollercoaster ride I was speaking of and for people that are stuck in airports or somewhere where they can't have a good balanced meal it is real easy to eat 5 bags of chips and a few candy bars with a couple of sodas and then they wonder why they can't sleep when they get home. I am not advocating cutting CArbs out of the diet completly, because the body does need carbohydrates. I was simply stating that if a person stays away from large amounts of them it will prevent the roller coaster effect described above. I believe the only people that need HIGH carbohydrate intakes are athletes. But hey, don't take my word for it read your nutrition book
Maybe I should have been more specific in saying I would avoid simple carbs, not complex carbs.

Carbohydrates The total number of carbohydrates, the primary source of energy, is derived by adding all the carbohydrate sources, including dietary fiber, sugars, and other carbohydrates (a voluntary listing that includes ingredients like flour). There are two types of carbohydrates: simple (those found in soda, candy and other sweets) and complex (found in starchy or fibrous foods like breads, grains, and fruits). Complex carbohydrates should constitute the bulk of our diets—55 to 65 percent of the total calories, per leading authorities. Each gram of carbohydrate has four calories.
Sedentary adults need about 36 grams of protein (the building block of our muscles, blood, skin, hair, and nails) per pound of body weight per day. Meaning, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 54 grams daily. Active people may require more—about 0.54 to 0.82 grams per pound, depending on exercise level, intensity, and goals. Each gram of protein has four calories.
Maybe this will help to clarify. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

SD
 
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