Real Answers from Real Pilots

FAA Medical Exam Questions

Hello again,

I hope this doesn’t get too long. I’m in the early planning stages and have several questions. I just recently made a post and everyone was very helpful. I’ll give a quick recap. I’m currently forty four and hope to be in a position financially by forty six to attend ATP Flight School.

My questions are concerning pre-existing medical conditions. I realize nobody will be able to give medical advice and I’ll need to schedule a medical exam for definitive answers. I’m really hoping to find out if anyone knows of pilots with my specific issues. I don’t want to get too far into planning to have my dreams crushed.

I’ll start by saying I don’t currently use any prescription drugs. I have been prescribed medications in the past but I’ve taken a holistic approach to my health over the past year and a half so I’m not taking anything currently. Unless you consider melatonin a drug. I have a clean diet. I don’t drink, smoke, or do any drugs. I’ve actually lost around fifty pounds in the last year.

The first issue is Sleep Apnea. I was diagnosed several years ago and I use a CPAP while sleeping. The condition is well managed and I don’t have any daytime drowsiness issues. I was prescribed a mild stimulant when I was first diagnosed because I wasn’t adjusting well to the machine. That is no longer the case. I sleep very well with the machine. Again, I’m no longer taking that medication. I’ve read that Sleep Apnea may not be a disqualifying condition.

I also have been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. I was taking an anti-inflammatory for this but it’s no longer necessary. The change in diet seems to have been all that was needed.

The last, and what I fear to be the most problematic, would be some issues with depression. I was depressed after losing my mother. My doctor prescribed an antidepressant. He claimed it was a mild antidepressant that would also help with the arthritis pain. The drug is Duloxetine if anyone is curious. I used it for a few years but I reached a point where I didn’t feel it was necessary and I wanted to reduce or eliminate any medications I didn’t feel were absolutely essential. I’ve been off of the antidepressant for over a year without any adverse effects. I’ve read people claiming this could disqualify you and others that claim there are approved depression medications. The available information is contradictory and confusing.

Any thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Christopher!

The only condition that I am familiar with is depression. That will require additional testing and evaluation before the FAA grants the medical certificate. So, it’s possible, but requires additional testing.

For sleep apnea and arthritis you will need to consult an AME.

Tory

Chris,

We are unable to answer medical questions of any nature. It is best that you schedule an appointment with a FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) to discuss these questions.

Chris

Thank you for your response.

I understand there could be liability issues. Thank you for your response.

Christopher,

You’ve got a number of issues that could impact your ability to obtain a First Class medical. Before you do anything else towards making this move I would consult an AME. You don’t want to waste time and money if you can’t get a medical or getting one is too difficult a process.

Adam

Thank you for your response. I was thinking that should be my next step.