The federal government has reversed a ban on flying for pilots taking antidepressants. Part of the reason: Antidepressants have advanced to the point where the risk of the drugs being a safety hazard has subsided.
The new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policy took effect April 5.
The old rule was based on outdated versions of antidepressants that could cause drowsiness and other side effects.
Some pilots had kept their use of the medications a secret because of the previous rule. They were concerned they’d lose their certification to fly.
Under the new policy, pilots who take Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa or Lexapro will be allowed to fly if they’ve been successfully treated for a year without side effects that could pose a safety hazard in the cockpit.
The FAA is also granting amnesty for some pilots taking those four medications, known as SSRIs. The agency won’t take civil enforcement action against pilots who disclose their diagnosis of depression and treatment within six months.
The Army, Civil Aviation Authority of Australia and Transport Canada already allow some pilots to fly who are using antidepressants.
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