Real Answers from Real Pilots

1st Class Medical

Hey guys!

So I thought I’d share what I think is an interesting story. My school requires a 2nd class medical before you can start. Though I decided I would get a 1st class just so I can get it over and done with. Anyways, I filled out the form online and stated that I have mild asthma and that I occasionally take Zyrtec. On the form, I said that my mild asthma has never hospitalized me, I don’t require treatment for it on a daily basis, and that I have never had symptoms while flying or because of flying. When the AME came in the room to ask me a few questions, he was more concerned about the Zyrtec I take rather than my mild asthma. I just thought it was kinda funny that he wouldn’t ask about a respiratory issue, but would ask about my occasional allergies. Anyone else experienced something similar to that?

Yuran D.

Yuran,

It was probably more a concern with the medication itself as some meds have unintended side effects.

Chris

Yuran,

It was probably more of a concern with the medication itself as some mess have unintended side effects.

Chris

Obviously Benadryl is out of the question since it and most over the counter sleeping pills are exactly the same active ingredient.

From leftseat.com:

Allergy, Cold, Decongestants - Sudafed is approved by the FAA provided it is not combined with an antihistamine. Allegra (Fexofenadine), Astelin (Azelastine), Dymista (Azelastine HCl / Fluticasone propionate), Claritin (Loratadine) and Clarinex (Desloratadine) are acceptable to the FAA provided no adverse effects are experienced. Vitamin B-12 or other prophylactic injections are approved provided there are no side effects. Sedating medications are not acceptable. This includes but is not limited to Zyrtec (Cetirazine) and Benadryl (Dipenhydramine).

Approved Inhalers include:

Afrin (Oxymetazoline Hydrochloride)
Atrovent (Ipratropium) CASE BY CASE ONLY
Beconase (Beclomethasone Dipropionate)
Flonase (Fluticasone Propionate)
Nasalcrom (Cromolyn Sodium)
Nasalide (Flunisolide)
Vancenase (Beclomethasone Dipropionate)

As I have seasonal allergies the only stipulation is that any meds taken have to be non-drowsy. When talking to my AME he just said to make sure to not fly if you are having symptoms of your allergies and if I do plan on getting a prescription, make sure to contact him first to make sure it is OK.
A quick search of Zyrtec shows that it has side effects such has drowsiness and tired feeling. That can be a problem if you take it before flying as you do not want to be drowsie or tired while flying. What else did he have to say?

As the others have said, it’s not the allergies it’s the treatment. Many pilots suffer from seasonal (and chronic) allergies, you just have to find something that’s not prohibited and works well from you. You might want to ask the AME for recommendations.

Adam

Gentlemen,

As always, thank you! He didn’t give me the “why” to his concern so it really threw me off. Interestingly enough, I have never felt drowsy when I take Zyrtec. He didn’t even tell me not to take it before a flight. As always, thank you again for the help, guys!

Yuran

Yuran,

Anytime. The world of FAA Aeromedical can sometimes be confusing. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, if they do take issue with it ask what other drugs you can take that would be approved while still addressing your condition.

Chris

Chris,

Thanks! Will do!

Yuran