Illness & Medication: what pilots and doctors need to know

Any medication can cause side effects, some of which may impair the flying performance of pilots.

Equally, symptoms of colds, sore throats, abdominal upsets, or painful ailments may distract pilots and degrade their performance whilst on duty. The symptoms may be compounded by the side effects of the medication prescribed or bought over the counter and this combination may be degrading a pilot’s performance and lead to incapacitation.

All lists of aeromedical ‘approved’ drugs will be inevitably incomplete and out of date at the day they are published. Therefore, this leaflet describes some basic principles that may enable pilots and their treating doctors to assist each other in preventing the use of medication that may degrade flying performance and impact flight safety.

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