SSRI and 1st class medical

Hey everyone. This is my first post to the forum so I guess a little about me is helpful. I’m 40 and decided to follow a dream and get out and fly so I’m starting from zero time at OWD in Massachusetts.

Or at least I will be when I receive my medical from the FAA…

I was on an SSRI from 2018 (Bupropion) and decided after my initial AME appointment in May to discontinue taking the medication and follow the path laid out by the FAA. My medical was deferred to the FAA so after 60 days off the medication my primary doctor wrote a letter about my stability as was requested.

They have now also requested all medical records from any prescribing physicians and their notes about the medication which I am in the process of gathering. In seeing these doctor’s notes my alcohol usage is referenced a couple of times as my old doctor thought that could be a factor in my needing this medication in the first place. Not quite that it was severely problematic but that alcohol intake was a factor. I did heed my doctor back in October 2022 and fully quit drinking and have not drank at all since.

My question being, when I submit these records to the FAA to hopefully be approved finally, would it be helpful to include a letter about how completely cutting out alcohol really made this medication unneeded? I could also get a letter to this effect from my current physician as well if that would be possibly better?

All feedback is appreciated.


This is a question for your AME. My experience however is give them what they ask for, nothing more, nothing less. You don’t want to be opening cans of worms…


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Only your AME can answer those questions. I will point out that 10 months of no alcohol is not exactly a long time, they might have some serious questions about the alcohol usage.


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I assumed after seeing my records and having this mentioned, I’ll have more steps after this one to convince them I am fit to fly. Unfortunately the AME I began this application with is not terribly helpful. As far as understand, I am stuck with him for this application.


Have you checked the database to see if there are any more AME’s in your area that might be more helpful? In most cities there are at least a few to choose from. It could be a long process, you’ll want to have a good working relationship with them.


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Hi Hannah. I did take a look and there are plenty within a reasonable distance but when I spoke to the medical certification office, I have to stay with the same AME unfortunately.


As it may seem disappointing to have to stick with one AME, the FAA is doing their job and making sure you are fit to fly. I would say many pilots have come across an obstacle with acquiring a medical, and AME’s don’t know everything, some may reach out to others or OKC for advice as well. I’d prefer my captain’s AME to reach out to specialists if they were unsure of something before signing them off to fly and having a in-flight medical emergency…


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