Member Guide

AOPA member services that keep you flying

July 1, 2010

Answers For Pilots: Certain antidepressants are now FAA-allowed

Most of us who’ve lived awhile have gone through some turbulent times—relationships gone sour, a loved one’s illness or death, or a really bad financial break. We get knocked down, shake it off, and get up to carry on, again. But, sometimes it’s hard to recover.

If you mention a life crisis to a physician, he or she usually suggests you consider taking an antidepressant to help you cope with it. While thousands of nonpilots have found some help working through their tough times by taking prescribed antidepressants, pilots could not do so without invalidating their airman medical certificates, since until recently the FAA had not allowed the use of any antidepressants for any condition.

But the FAA announced in April that it will consider individuals for special issuance medical certification who are being treated for depression with one of four antidepressant medications, specifically Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, or Lexapro. And, there’s a six-month amnesty period that ends September 30 during which pilots who took those antidepressants before they were FAA-allowed, but did not disclose their antidepressant use on their medical applications, can ’fess up without fear of prosecution. Read all about it online. Watch AOPA’s free medical webinar, July 20, at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Sign up online. Call AOPA’s Pilot Information Center at 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672), Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.

AOPA life insurance exclusively for pilots

Check out the low rates offered to AOPA members

When many insurance agents find out you’re a pilot, you can count on a hassle. What’s worse is to be in for a sad surprise when your family tries to claim benefits, only to discover that the policy had aviation exclusions. With AOPA’s life insurance, just the opposite is true—AOPA’s life insurance policies are designed specifically with pilots in mind, so that you are covered in the event of an accident during a flight.

AOPA wants to make buying life insurance easy. If you apply, no health exam is required in many cases. You fill out a simple form, and that’s it. As you are deciding whether the plan is right for you, you will not be hounded to make a decision. No salespeople will call to pressure you to say yes. What’s more, your premiums stay low thanks to the group buying power of your fellow AOPA members.

Currently AOPA members can apply for a policy valued from $5,000 to $1 million. And if you want more than $1 million in coverage, AOPA will work with you to build a policy that suits your requirements. Visit the website or call 877-432-AOPA, and feel secure that your family is protected.

Get the most out of your membership!

Your membership includes unlimited 24-hour access to AOPA Online where you’ll find AOPA’s Internet Flight Planner, Aviation Weather, and AOPA Airports (formerly AOPA’s Airport Directory Online). Flight Planner has real-time map updates, graphical weather overlays, and airport information. AOPA Airports is updated daily and includes current fuel prices for more than 3,000 FBOs, sectional chart views with METAR overlays, instrument approach plates, and taxiway diagrams. We offer an online directory connecting pilots, airports, and businesses. Try them out today!

Kathy Dondzila

Kathy Dondzila | Manager, Technical Communications, Pilot Information Center

Technical Communications Manager, Kathy Dondzila, joined AOPA in 1990 and is an instrument-rated private pilot.