FAA Lifts Ban on Antidepressants for Pilots

Advocates say change in decades-old policy will improve safety
By Marie Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2010 5:45 PM CDT
FAA Lifts Ban on Antidepressants for Pilots
American Airlines jets at Miami International Airport in Miami, Feb. 1, 2009. The FAA will relax the prohibition forbidding pilots from taking antidepressants.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)

The FAA will change a 70-year-old rule that bars pilots taking medication for depression from operating planes. The new policy, which takes effect Monday, allows pilots who have been successfully treated for a year with the patented or generic versions of Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, or Zoloft to request a waiver permitting them to fly. The relatively new drugs have fewer potentially hazardous side effects than earlier antidepressants, experts say.

"Depression is a disease, and it's treatable just like any other disease," the FAA administrator tells CNN. "And there is a stigma out there that we want to remove. We want to make the skies safer, and we believe that this change in the policy will benefit that and achieve that.""
(More FAA stories.)

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