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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Pilots on antidepressants allowed to fly under new FAA rules

    Under the new FAA policy, pilots with mild to moderate depression will be allowed to fly while taking antidepressants if they can demonstrate that they have been satisfactorily treated for at least 12 months.
    The FAA also launched a six-month amnesty period during which pilots on antidepressants can step forward without fear of penalties. The pilots will be grounded until they can demonstrate that they have met the new requirements.
    The FAA will, on a case-by-case basis, issue special medical certificates to pilots who take one of four antidepressants: fluoxetine (Prozac) sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) or escitalopram (Lexapro). Other drugs will be considered over time.
    Dr. Thomas Byer, an FAA-certified medical examiner in Las Vegas, believes that the policy will allow pilots to be treated appropriately and safely.
    "It's not like you take a pill and we see you five years later," he said. "We follow you very closely.
    "If the medication is used appropriately, it's very safe, with relatively few side effects," he said.
    The FAA said few pilots have stepped forward in the two weeks since the policy change was announced. Pilots probably are seeking guidance from their personal physicians and professional organizations before taking action, an FAA spokeswoman said.
    Pilot groups say they have been receiving inquiries.
    "Most of the calls are from members wanting to know, 'What's in it for me?' " said Chris Dancy, a spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. A smaller number of calls are commenting on the change and are polarized between those who think it's a good idea and those who think it's bad.
    "There does not appear to be much middle ground among the comments," Dancy said.
    The new policy will "absolutely" improve safety, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said.
    "The concern that we have today is, we have people who are either self-medicating or not seeking a diagnosis. Either of those is unacceptable," Babbitt said. "This change ... will allow those people to get the treatment, allow us to monitor and return them to the cockpit [as] safer, better pilots."
    More here: Under revised FAA rules, 'Prozac Pilot' hopes to fly again - CNN.com

  2. #2
    MacLean's Avatar
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    Why is this news?

    Consider the alternative - a depressed pilot NOT taking his meds.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by maclean View Post
    Why is this news?

    Consider the alternative - a depressed pilot NOT taking his meds.
    My thoughts too - anyone depressed and not taking meds could turn out a lot worse than letting them take the stuff, I would think, except the really high power antipsychotics that alter good judgement or put them to sleep.

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