Pilots on Antidepressants Cleared To Fly, FAA Says

 - April 6, 2010, 11:33 AM

In a new policy statement released on Friday, the FAA said that individuals being treated for “mild to moderate” depression with one of four antidepressant medications–specifically, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and their generic equivalents–can be considered for special issuance of a pilot medical certificate. According to the FAA, these medications help restore the balance of serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical found in the brain. “These four antidepressants may be used safely in appropriate cases with proper oversight and have fewer side effects than previous generations of antidepressants,” the FAA said. Because these medications may be used to treat conditions other than depression, the FAA will continue to consider applicants and make determinations on a case-by-case basis under the special-issuance process for all uses of these medications. However, applicants requiring the use of multiple antidepressant medications or other psychotropic medication along with any of the four FAA-approved antidepressants “will not meet the criteria set forth under this policy.”