Drugs - the legal kind

July 31, 2012

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Warren Silberman

Warren Silberman

  • Former Manager, FAA Aerospace Medical Certification 
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine 
  • Expert in Aerospace/Preventive Medicine 
  • Pilot since 1986

Pilots are often asking why a given drug their regular doctor has prescribed does not appear on our list of “approved” medications. Well, here is the truth of the matter: The FAA does not give its approval of an FDA-approved medication until the drug has been available for one year.

This is not an arbitrary and deliberately obstructive move on their part; the FAA wants to see how the medication reacts on the body when a large population is exposed, over and above what was established in the clinical trials mandated by that other federal giant, the Food and Drug Administration. Specifically, are there any side effects that could be germane to aviators?

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