Pilots May Be Cleared to Use Anti-Depressant Meds

The FAA has reversed a former ban on certain antidepressant medications for pilots. Last Friday, the agency announced it will permit special issuance medical certificates to pilots who are prescribed the following medications (provided they have been satisfactorily treated for 12 months): Prozac (Fluoxetine); Zoloft (Sertraline); Celexa (Citalopram); and Lexapro (Escitalopram). The announcement comes after many years of debate on the issue. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said, "I'm encouraging pilots who are suffering from depression or using antidepressants to report their medical condition to the FAA. We need to change the culture and remove the stigma associated with depression. Pilots should be able to get the medical treatment they need so they can safely perform their duties." Certain psychiatrists and Aviation Medical Examiners with special training will help the FAA monitor pilots under the new policy.