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Q&A: Discontinued Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)

By Penny Giovanetti, D.O., Manager, Aerospace Medical Specialties Division
Source: FAA Safety Briefing, September/October 2017


Q. During the process of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) certification for the first time, can a pilot update his status if he has elected to stop using the SSRI after 60 days? How should the FAA be updated?

A. The choice to discontinue use of any prescribed medication should be made in conjunction with your physician. Assuming you were not taking the SSRI for a diagnosis of recurrent depression, we need a letter from your treating physician addressing your diagnosis, the date you stopped the medication, current status, and prognosis.

Send your questions to SafetyBriefing@faa.gov. They will be forwarded to the Aerospace Medical Certification Division, without your name, and the answer will be published in an upcoming issue of FAA Safety Briefing.

Penny Giovanetti, D.O., received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford, a master’s in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine from the University of Iowa and a doctorate from Des Moines University. She completed a 27-year career as an Air Force flight surgeon. She is board certified in aerospace medicine, occupational medicine, and physical medicine/rehabilitation. She is also a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association and a private pilot.