Migraine Medications and "Passing" Drug Screenings

Patient Expert

In our Question and Answer section and in my email, I'm seeing some questions about "passing" drug screenings when taking medications for Migraine.

I've been there myself when  I had a job that required drug screening in advance of employment. I worried because I'd recently taken Fioricet for my Migraines and  Xanax for anxiety. Paranoia ruled.

Fortunately, a frank conversation with my doctor got me through those times. Yes, I "passed" the screening; and, yes, I got the job!

My doctor advised me to avoid making a big deal of taking opioids and that part of that was accepting that the "narcotics" I needed were as essential to me as insulin to someone with type 1 diabetes. He said that the best way to get others to treat my need for medications as a "normal" part of life was to start accepting it that way myself.

As for the drug screening, he advised me to take my prescription bottle and a note he wrote for me to the screening with me. I couldn't believe how easily it went. I took the meds and note to the screening and showed them to the person doing registration. She made note of the medication on the intake form and attached the note from my doctor. My medications were no problem.

Keep in mind that the main point of drug screening for employment is to check for illicit drug use, not to "catch" you taking medications that have been prescribed for you. In cases where the job requires operation of heavy equipment, a second reason for the screening may be to be sure candidates have disclosed all medications that could be problematic.

I've also been in management positions where reviewing the results of drug screenings was part of my job. Every report was favorable as long as candidates gave the screener a complete list of medications and supplements they were taking.

Bottom line? As long as you disclose everything you're taking at the time of the screening, you will NOT "fail" the screening. You will pass with flying colors!