Restricted Prescription Medications


As you are probably aware by now. Every incident under MAPS no matter how small requires a drug test. UP has recently added a list of Prescription drugs that you may not take even if you have a prescription. the following is a letter from Greg Workman regarding the company’s new policy;


As part of ongoing efforts to promote safety through Fitness-for-Duty, the following initiatives will be announced in November to covered agreement employees.   Your members who are affected by these requirements are in the Operating field (which includes Transportation, Mechanical, Engineering and Intermodal), Supply field and Telecom departments.  

  • Restricted Prescription Drugs – Work restrictions are currently applied to ensure employees working in safety related jobs are not impaired by prescription drugs that pose safety risks for themselves or others.  These individuals are not allowed to work while using a prescription drug of concern. In response to requests from supervisors, employees and union leadership to be more transparent, Health & Medical Services is publishing a list of restricted prescription drugs.  As always, employees should report ready to safely perform their job.

The drugs listed are restricted due to documented significant impairment that lasts for a prolonged period.  Employees must take the time to discuss their prescription drugs with their personal physician and begin to transition safely from any restricted prescribed drug to a safer alternative medication.  Employees should also be aware that updates to UP’s list are made as needed.  Drug categories of concern include: Opioids, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Muscle Relaxants, Hypnotics, and Varenicline.  

At this time, employees are not required to report use of these restricted prescription drugs, but that may change with any future Medical Rules update. Specific information about restrictions for each drug category is available by clicking on the link below.

Opioid and Synthetic Opioid Drugs
Opioid and synthetic opioid drugs are typically used to treat moderate to severe pain.  All drugs in this class are restricted except as noted.


Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Buprenorphine Buprenex, Butrans, Suboxone, Subutex
Butorphanol Stadol
Fentanyl Abstral, Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Lazanda, Onsolis, Sublimaze
Hydrocodone (extended release) Hysingla ER, Roxicodone, OxyIR, Zohydro ER
  Hydromorphone   Dilaudid, Palladone
  Meperidine   Demerol
  Methadone   Dolophine, Methadose
  Morphine   Astramorph, Avinza, Duramorph Infumorph, Kadian, MS Contin, MSIR, Oramorph, Roxanol
  Nalbuphine   Nubain
  Oxycodone (extended release)   OxyContin, Dazidox, Oxecta, Oxyfast, OxyIR, Percolone, Roxicodone, Roxicodone Intensol, Targiniq
  Oxymorphone   Opana
  Pentazocine   Talwin NX
  Tapentadol   Nucynta
  Tramadol   ConZip, Rybix, Ryzolt, Ultram

EXCEPTIONS: SHORT ACTING OPIODS (cannot work until after 12 hours of the last dose)

Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Codeine (short acting)  Tylenol with codeine no. 3, Empirin no. 4
Dihydrocodeine (short acting) Panlor DC, Synalgos DC, Zerlor
Hydrocodone (short acting) Vicodin, Hysingla, Zohydro
Oxycodone (short acting) Combunox, Endocet, Endodan, Endocodone, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet, Roxiprin, Tylox

Benzodiazepine Drugs
Benzodiazepines are typically used as sedatives, to treat anxiety, as muscle relaxants, and for other purposes.  All drugs in this class are restricted.

Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Alprazolam Xanax
Clonazepam Klonopin
Clorazepate Tranxene
Diazepam Valium
  Lorazepam   Ativan
  Midazolam   Versed
  Oxazepam   Serax
  Temazepam   Restoril
  Triazolam   Halcion

Barbiturate Drugs
Barbiturates are typically used as sedatives, in combination with other drugs for headaches and for a variety of other uses.  All drugs in this class are restricted.

Generic Name               BRAND EXAMPLES
Amobarbital Generic versions
Butabarbital Generic versions
Butalbital Esgic, Fioricet, Fiorinal, Phrenilin
Pentobarbital Nembutal
  Phenobarbital   Generic versions
  Secobarbital   Seconal

Muscle Relaxant Drugs
Muscle relaxant drugs are typically used to treat muscle spasms, often for persons who have back or neck pain symptoms.  The muscle relaxant drug of concern, is Carisoprodol (brand name Soma).  This drug is restricted.

Hypnotic Drugs
Hypnotic drugs are typically used as sleep aids. The hypnotic drugs of concern are Eszopiclone (brand name Lunesta)and Zolpidem Tartrate extended release (brand name Ambien CR).  These two drugs are restricted.

Varenicline (brand name Chantix)is typically used to treat nicotine addiction, as an aid in smoking cessation.  This drug is restricted.

  1.        When will more information be available?  A webpage dedicated to restricted medications will be available in November.  Employees will receive communication via UPOnline articles, ITV, and various other ways as needed.  
  2.        What should employees discuss with their doctors?  Employees should discuss the following with their doctor:
  •    Their safety related job duties
  •    UP’s list of restricted prescription drugs
  •    Safer alternative drugs
  •    A plan to discontinue restricted drugs (if applicable)
  1.        Are there less impairing alternative drugs that UP does not restrict  for covered employees?  Yes, for each category of restricted drugs there are safer alternative drugs, which UP does not restrict.  Employees should discuss other alternatives with their doctors.   Employees can email FFD@up.comif they have questions about whether a specific prescription drug is restricted or not.
  2.        What should I tell an employee who believes he or she may be on a restricted prescription drugs? Employees should take the following steps now:
  •    Take UP’s list of restricted drugs to their doctor
  •    Only change the use of prescription drugs under the direction of their doctor
  •    If the doctor confirms the employee is using a restricted prescription drug, the employee and  doctor should discuss a plan to discontinue the restricted drug
  •    Employees with questions after discussing prescription medications with their doctor, may contact Fitness-for-Duty or call the HR Service Center at 1-877-275-8747, Option 4.
  1.   How does this align with the company’s emphasis on safety? Safety is a core value at UP and a responsibility for all employees.  The purpose of the restricted prescription drug list is to ensure covered workers are not impaired by medications at work, which may pose significant safety risks for the worker and others.
  • Color Vision Field Test Standardization – The color vision field test may be administered to train crew and other employees who do not pass the first level color vision Ishihara test.  To ensure consistency, enhancements to the field test have been made, and include: standardized process for conducting field tests, coordination by an Occupational Health Nurse, utilization of the same equipment, and employees may still request union representation.
  • Compliance Requirements for Medical Monitoring – Employees with certain serious health conditions will be required to periodically provide medical information to Union Pacific Health & Medical Services by a specific date for a medical review to determine the employee’s ability to continue working safely.  Medical monitoring will mainly be done for chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes treated with insulin, severe sleep apnea and vision related conditions.

As part of this process, the employees will receive three written reminders (60, 30 and 15 days) prior to the date the medical information is due.  If a response is not received from the employee following the first notice, then the supervisors will also be notified at the time of the employee’s second notice (30 days before deadline).  If the employee does not respond by the due date, then the employee will be removed from service until the requested medical information is received and a Fitness-for-Duty review is completed.  

Employees with questions after discussing prescription medications with their doctor may contact Fitness-for-Duty at or call the HR Service Center at 1-877-275-8747, Option 4.

Thank you!

Greg Workman
Vice President-Safety & Chief Safety Officer
Union Pacific Railroad




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