As we enter cold and flu season, the FAA has issued new guidance to pilots regarding what over-the-counter medications are safe to fly on. The list is broken down into two categories: “Go” and “No Go.”
The list includes antihistamines, decongestants, cough and pain medicines, as well as medications for rashes and gastrointestinal issues.
This information is vital to all pilots, as sedating antihistamines are frequently detected in fatal accident toxicology reports. The message of this list is clear: just because a medicine is available without a prescription does not mean it is safe to mix with flying. NAAA strongly encourages pilot to print this list and consult it frequently when taking over-the-counter medications. It is best to review all of the medications you are taking to determine if and when you can safely fly while taking them. A review of NTSB reports for fatal agricultural aviation accidents shows that both over the counter and prescription medications are being found.
In addition to the list of medications, the guide lists a series of questions pilots should ask themselves to determine their fitness for flight. Also, if a pilot has taken a no-go medication, another chart is provided to determine the period of time before a pilot can fly again. The FAA recommends pilots wait at least five dosage intervals after the last dose is taken. For example, wait at least 30 hours before flying if you are directed to take the medication every four to six hours and at least 60 hours if directed to take it every 12 hours.
The guide also provides links to other FAA resources regarding hypertension medications, oral diabetes medications and antidepressants, as well as other aeromedical safety brochures.
To read this press release in its original format, visit the NAAA Website