background

OTC Meds

I frequently get asked about OTC (over-the-counter) non-prescription medicines and flying. Here are some general statements:

--The PRIMARY issue is: If you feel you need to take some of these potions, then look at WHY you are taking them. Head stopped up -> no fly. Dead tired from coughing all night -> no fly. Running a fever -> no fly, etc. Should we really be acting as crew when we feel like crap? Let me use a silly example of the difference between the side effects and the why: Suppose I invented a medicine that eliminated 8 out of 10 convulsions and had no side effects. Would you want to fly with a pilot who was taking a medicine with no side effects and prevented only 8 out of 10 convulsions? Of course, the answer is NO but the reason is more WHY the prescription was written, not what the Rx was.

--If the package has a warning about operating machinery, drowsiness, dry mouth, etc., of course, no fly. The rule of thumb about use is: let three times the dose interval elapse before resuming crew duty, i.e., (Directions: "Take every 6 hours", then allow 18 hours from taking to flying.)

--The over-the-counter things can be very dangerous in spite of their assurances in ads, labels. etc.

Several documented crashes where autopsy/toxicology resulting in pointing to OTC meds as contributing strongly.

As far as a whiz quiz, should be no problem.