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FAA issues new policy for pilot use of antidepressants

April 8, 2010

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The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced a policy that allows airline pilots to take certain antidepressants for treatment of mild depression.

According to a notice (.pdf file) published in the April 5 Federal Register, FAA is seeking public comment on issuing medical certification to first-, second- and third-class airman applicants who are being treated for depression with one of four antidepressant medications (Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro). The policy states, "FAA will evaluate affected applicants on a case-by-case basis and will issue certificates based on a medical finding that an individual's use of such medication will not endanger public safety." The policy went into effect April 5; the deadline for comment is May 5.

In other FAA news, the agency on April 5 published a final rule (.pdf file) that extends the deadline to April 6, 2012, for compliance with certain provisions of the ruling for cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data recorder regulations. A final rule published in 2008 included requirements for recording data link communications, wiring, 10-minute independent power sources for CVRs, location and housing, and duration of recordings, among other changes.



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