Briefing Leaflet

Medication & flying

Feb 21, 2009

Abstract

Even a minor illness in a pilot can cause a major problem while flying. In addition, accidents have occurred because of pilot’s disability related to disease and/or medication. People tend to regard the over-the-counter drugs as well as herbal medication safer and that they have less side-effects than prescribed medications. However, this is not true, and especially in an aviation environment some over-the-counter drugs, such as anti-histamines, have side-effects that can not be tolerated and these medications are not allowed. In addition, many symptoms that are negligible on the ground may worsen while flying, so in many cases the underlying illness itself is usually the major reason for not to fly. Therefore, licence holders should be encouraged always to consult their AME (authorised medical examiner) before taking any medicine. Quite often other physicians than AMEs show a serious lack of knowledge in the field of aviation medicine and therefore consultation with AME and not a general practitioner or other non-aviation familiar doctor is highly encouraged.