September 24, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

Prescription Xanax and my new 6 month stint on a cruise ship.

2 parts: Will my doctor be able/willing to prescribe an amount to cover the 6 month period and will Royal Caribbean hire me (assuming there will be a drug test, which I am not sure about yet)? I will be at sea for 6 months and even if they don't drug test me, will my 2mg/day dosage be even allowed in a 6 month supply from a pharmacy? I have an appointment with my doctor already set up and am in the very beginning stages of being hired, so I'm just reaching out for anybody with general experience. Please no Xanax lectures, I am under a doctor's care.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total)
My sister just got a year-long prescription for her (generic) Prozac (as well as several other medications) because she'll be travelling out of the country for almost that whole time. Not Xanax, but probably similarish?. She has, though, been on it for a while and has a good and trusting relationship with her doctor, it wasn't like a brand new prescription or a new doctor, of course I don't know your circumstances here.

She uses mail-order pharmacy, and both they and the insurance company were minorly annoying about it, but with a couple phone called relented.
posted by brainmouse at 8:32 AM on September 24, 2010

It's a Schedule IV drug - I BELIEVE, but don't quote me, that you can get up to five post-dated refills from your doc for stuff in this class. I'm on a Schedule II drug, and even for THAT, my doc is allowed to write out three months' worth of scrips at a time. It is very unlikely you will be able to get them all FILLED at once, however.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:33 AM on September 24, 2010

You won't be allowed to fill 6 months at once, but your doc will post-date refills like jul thumbscrew says. If you have a prescription for it, you shouldnt fail a drug test if it's detected, but you'd have to check with your employer's HR dept. to be sure. While you're there you should ask them if they have a pharmacy that services employees on the ship.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:50 AM on September 24, 2010

I'm fairly certain that Xanax is available over-the-counter in Mexico and other countries. Also much cheaper than in the US.

You might even be able to get your entire stock in one stop.

Depending on where the cruise ship docks, you might be able to skip the doctor/insurance rigamarole all together.
posted by thatguyjeff at 9:48 AM on September 24, 2010

thatguyjeff: Depending on where the cruise ship docks, you might be able to skip the doctor/insurance rigamarole all together."

Yeah but probably a good idea to have the script in case the employer has a problem with OTC narcotics, methinks . . .
posted by eggman at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2010

The cruise ship will have doctors and medical staff on board for the crew. You might ask HR if they will be able to provide the XanaX.

Alternatively your ship should have a home port in a place like Miami. You could find a local drug store there and get your prescription filled there.
posted by oddman at 10:51 AM on September 24, 2010

II: Use of medication
1. The use of anticoagulants, other than platelet aggregation inhibitors the mode of action and pattern of side effects of which are comparable to acetylsalicylic acid is a reason for unfitness.
The use of immunosuppressives is a reason for unfitness.
For the use of anti-diabetics and anti-epileptics the guidelines in the relevant articles should be referred to.
2. Being dependent on the use of drugs with a narrow therapeutic spectrum is a reason for unfitness.
3. Being dependent on the use of drugs which have side effects in the sense of: dizziness, reduced ability to concentrate and respond, psychological disorders or which affect the circulation, can be a reason for unfitness.
4. If drugs are used that do not interfere with the safety of navigation, then in issuing the seafarers medical certificate it must be considered whether the person concerned understands the mode of action and side effects of the drug and has strictly complied with the physician's instructions.
5. If drugs are used which do not interfere with the safety of navigation, the extent to which the
sudden withdrawal of the drugs (sea sickness, emergency), leads to problems should be considered.
But that is from the Dutch seafarer's medical guidelines, not necessarily the ones for the country whose medical you have to pass. If you are in the USA, apparently any doctor can issue you a medical, not necessarily one who knows anything about ships, and quite possibly the medical is less stringent than the Dutch one. That said, I'm going to assume you would be working somewhere in the hotel or entertainment departments (from your length of contract) and wouldn't necessarily be required to have any duties in the event of an emergency, so it quite possibly doesn't matter as much.

I am not anyone's medical professional and don't know anything about the side effects or potential side effects of your medication (I don't know anything about what xanax is or what it's for, either). In the interests of safety of life at sea I strongly recommend honesty in all mention of medication - seriously, if it all goes tits up, you do not want to end up in a liferaft and find you don't have your medication.

There will probably be a drug test. You need to list the xanax and anything else you've taken. If you can get your medical certificate despite having the prescription, it shouldn't be a problem that it shows up on the test. There will be a doctor on board who would have the authority to issue you with your refill, so long as they know that you're taking it (i.e. if you showed up wanting it after having lied through the employment process, you would be out on your arse, if you tell the truth you'd get a refill).

If you want to PM me I may be able to find out more from a friend who works for RCL.
posted by Lebannen at 11:17 AM on September 24, 2010

You should be able to get a prescription for six months but I also doubt if you can get it filled all at once. . Beside possible legal restrictions that is a lot of Xanax to dispense at one time. Options: Have your pharmacy mail it to the mail drops/pick ups the ship uses; Have your pharmacy provide it directly to the ship's physician to be dispensed over the course of the cruise. I am guessing there is some solution.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:17 AM on September 24, 2010

Do you know upon which vessel you'll be sailing? That schedule (me-mail me if you don't know it; I can help you there) will help you figure it out. In general, as a European company, RCCL will be more lenient towards your condition, and in my travels I've found that a note from a doctor with a real phone number and email will generally help.

RCCL sails all over the place, and as many posters have pointed out, laws and local customs vary.
posted by digitalprimate at 8:13 PM on September 24, 2010

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