Study aims to help drivers achieve hypertension control to keep their commercial drivers’ license.

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Rules and Regulations stipulate that “a person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if that person has no current clinical diagnosis of high blood pressure likely to interfere with the ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.” Therefore, achieving and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is important not just for a driver’s well-being, but for maintaining a license to drive vehicles like those for transporting goods or paid passengers.

The lifestyle of commercial vehicle drivers can make it difficult for them to manage their condition. Therefore, the University of the Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Duluth, has set out on a year-long study to evaluate whether getting a pharmacist involved might help them through increased monitoring and education.

Study participants are split in two groups: one group that follows their usual care and reports their blood pressure measurements throughout the study, and a second that meets with a pharmacist trained in medication management at least every four months or more frequently if needed. The pharmacist works with the driver’s physician to make any necessary lifestyle or medication changes to achieve individual health goals.

Researchers are also hoping to learn how patients prefer to receive services of a pharmacist ― by meeting with them in person or by video-conferencing. Keri Hager, a pharmacist and assistant professor at the University who leads the study, explained that establishing this preference “may improve how health care is delivered to drivers, making it easier and more convenient to see pharmacists and other health care providers.”

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