Prescription Medicine and Operation of an Aircraft

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Prescription Medicine and Operation of Aircraft? Do you know of any
Prescription Medicine that can be used while flying an Aircraft?

Thanks, M.L.

-- Mark Love, September 21, 2006


By FAR 91.17(a)(3):
(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft
(3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety;

The issue is not whether or not it's a prescription drug, the issue is its effect on the person taking it. It can be an OTC and unsafe, it can be prescription and totally safe. You can see a list of drugs and the FAA's view of them here.

Unsurprisingly, Vicodin is not allowed. I think you can pretty much count on any narcotics not to be allowed while operating as a crew member.

-- Tal Reichert, September 21, 2006

Dude- I'm not a pilot, but I can say with about a 500% crtainty that no, you cannot EVER take vicodin and fly an airplane. And, as someone who lost their parents in a plane crash, I am even more afraid to fly now that I have actually witnessed someone even thinking about taking narcotic painkillers that are directly derived from HEROIN and flying an airplane.

Please don't take pankillers and fly. Seriously. Just don't. Not ever. That's never going to be ok.

-- Allison Templeton, November 9, 2007

Subject: Response to Prescription Medicine and Operation of an Aircraft

Rather than screaming NO (my initial reaction), I hope this answer is useful. Of course, check with your AME -- some medications (even painkillers or anti-depressants) may be provisionally approved with an observation period or other restrictions. Vicodin is definitely out, though.

FAA Accepted Medications

Virtual Flight Surgeon

Note that many over-the-counter medications may also be prohibited or require a waiver.

-- Jane Carpenter, January 5, 2009