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Q&A: Flying After Medicating

Source:, By Penny Giovanetti, D.O. Manager, Aerospace Medical Specialties Division

Q. How do I know how long I should wait to resume flying after I take a medication? Is there a standard waiting period?

A. There is no standard waiting period. A rule of thumb is to wait 5 dosing intervals. For example, if you take the medication every 4-6 hours, wait 30 hours (6 hours x 5 intervals) after the last dose. To be on the safe side, consult your AME. Medications may act differently in different people, and often the safety concern is not so much the medication itself, but the underlying condition for which you are taking the medication.

Send your questions to 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.

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