Recently I received an e-mail from the spouse of a commercial airline pilot. Though her husband has been diagnosed with ADHD (and, from her report, displays strong symptoms), she claimed that FAA guidelines prohibit him from taking medication for it. Could this be true? Yes, it appears so, according to this page on the Aviation Medication Advisory Service website:
Medication Class — Attention Deficit Disorder Medications
Medication Class Description:
Current FAA policy does not allow persons who use any medications for ADD or ADHD to hold an airman medical certificates.
The FAA now has a protocol for evaluating pilots with Attention Deficit Disorder prior to issuing a waiver. Some individuals using medication have been waivered after neurocognitive testing shows adequate performance at least 72 hours off the medication. If the results of this testing is favorable, the pilot may be cleared to fly if no longer taking medications. Individuals with a reliable childhood diagnosis of ADHD may have to wait 90 days after stopping medication to take the required testing. Some of the medications used for ADHD will cause a positive drug test in DOT drug testing programs. Strattera has a warning regarding possible liver damage.
VFS can assist with in coordinating required psychological testing and waiver petitions.
Over at Leftseat blog, I found this about ADHD medications:
Attention Deficit (ADD) – Ritalin (Methylphenidate Hydrochloride), Adderall (Dextroamphetamine Sulfate) and Strattera (Atomoxetine Hydrochloride) are usually not approved by the FAA. Under rare circumstances, individuals using Ritalin have been approved with restrictions. Approval is more likely for adults due to the difficulty in accurately evaluating ADD in young people and typically requires time off medication prior to flight.
If you have any experience or accurate on this topic, please share. Are there any workarounds to this prohibition?