Working as a crewmember taking medication
Is there a way for me to find out whether over the counter medication or prescription medication I’m taking is permitted or prohibited when working as a crewmember?
With regard to FAA regulation and guidance, I will break it into three separate response points, as ONE is regulatory, TWO is an Advisory Circular used for reference, and THREE, an unofficial medicine list produced by the aviation community to help end-users of medication determine whether the medicine may be usable or not while working as a crewmember.
One ‐ the regulation: 14 CFR 91.17 Alcohol or Drugs
The key extract from 91.17. Note that (a)(3), and (d) and (e) helps answer concerns about whether medication can be taken.
(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft—
(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;
(2) While under the influence of alcohol;
(3) While using any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety; or
(d) Whenever the Administrator has a reasonable basis to believe that a person may have violated paragraph (a)(3) of this section, that person shall, upon request by the Administrator, furnish the Administrator, or authorize any clinic, hospital, doctor, or other person to release to the Administrator, the results of each test taken within 4 hours after acting or attempting to act as a crewmember that indicates the presence of any drugs in the body.
(e) Any test information obtained by the Administrator under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section may be evaluated in determining a person’s qualifications for any airman certificate or possible violations of this chapter and may be used as evidence in any legal proceeding under section 602, 609, or 901 of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958.
Two ‐ Advisory Circular: Advisory Circular 91.11‐1 Guide to Drug Hazards in Aviation Medicine.
It’s very long yet is an excellent reference tool. You may need to know the technical name of the medicine as it may not necessarily have the brand name listed. For example, Advil (brand name) but the database needs to see ibuprofen (technical name).
Three ‐ unofficial list of medicines:
These websites may be a useful resource for you to determine whether you are fit to fly based upon the information they provide. I provide three resources for you to review.
Leftseat.com FAA Accepted Medicines
However, for those that live in the United States, you can call the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division at 405‐954‐4821 to ask your medicine question or any other medicine interaction questions you may have. They have a current database of medications and they can run a check for you, and best of all, there’s no charge for their service. Here’s the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification website.
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