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SPECIAL ISSUANCE for ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Discussion in 'Ask A Flight Surgeon' started by My Flight Surgeon, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. Boris Badenov

    Boris Badenov He comes to save the day in a broken truck.

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    I sometimes think that going through the FAA's program to prove that you're not nuts might be irrefutable proof that you ARE nuts, but way to chase what you want to do. Hope it works out.
     
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  2. sizlack9

    sizlack9 Well-Known Member

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    An update to my earlier post...

    In December I took the first step in the process and went for the psychological screening in San Francisco. It ended up being a whole days worth of cognitive and intelligence testing... your brain will be sore by the time you leave :bang:

    The most important part of the test is the Aeromedical CogScreen. It's basically a computerized test that has you do a multitude of progressively complicated tasks. I figure they are looking to see if your use of an SSRI would affect your operation in the cockpit. Makes sense... Anyway I scored well on this part and thankfully finished all of the testing with positive results. The psychologist took a few weeks to write up a long report for the FAA that I recently received.

    I wrote before that an airman certifying under this SI would be looking at $2,200 or so a year in testing- it turns out that, once your clear all of the initial hurdles and expense, the FAA only requires that you take the CogScreen portion of the assessment (apx. $500) once a year.

    The next step is to bring all of this paperwork to a HIMS AME which I will be doing hopefully in March. I already have my FBO picked out and am hoping I can get the paperwork done and have the FAA clear me so I can finish my PPL this year!

    I will update when I have more news. Good luck to anyone in this process!!!
     
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  3. pilotassist

    pilotassist Well-Known Member

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    Question for the doc. As a current part 121 pilot and licensed clinical mental health counselor that maintains a clinical practice that consists 100% of airline pilots, the ssri issues comes up often with those I assist. With the amnesty that the FAA previously offered for pilots who failed to omit their ssri use, it's clear that they are aware of this issue of under reporting. The FAA also advertises their intention to encourage pilots to come forward if they are taking medication in an effort to better track the care of these individuals. My question is this; how should a career pilot that has been "underground" with their ssri use come forward with disclosing this to the FAA without imploding their career? Without the amnesty I see very little incentive for a pilot to come forward if they want to be able to work, especially if the are functioning optimally while on meds...despite the FAA knowing about it. How is the FAA addressing this issue?
     
  4. sizlack9

    sizlack9 Well-Known Member

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    An update for anyone interested in the process... I've been working with a HIMS AME for the last few months. After an initial appointment and interview you go through the typical medical exam and give the doctor all of the paperwork you hopefully have now (military medical records, regular medical records, Cogscreen AE, etc. etc. etc.). The doc comes back with additional paperwork that he believes the FAA will want (letters of recommendation, blah blah).

    My doc reviewed everything, wrote his report, and submitted everything to the FAA in OKC. He states the FAA could take 6 weeks or 6 months to come back with an answer... so I wait :cool:. The HIMS evaluation cost about $350 or so and will possibly be required every 6 months. Why am I doing this again? :)

    I would assume the 6 month evaluations will be less stringent and less costly. Hoping for good news.......
     
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  5. Kman172

    Kman172 New Member

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    Hello, this is my first time posting here, so hopefully I am doing this correctly...
    I am trying to finish up my Private Pilot Certification, since I started way back in 1989!! Now, I have more time and more money to finish. I was diagnosed several years ago with "mild anxiety", and put on Paxil. I was on that drug for about 8 years, until I started thinking about my medical again. I met with an AME more than a year ago, and he suggested I should switch to Lexapro if my regular doctor would agree. The AME told me to come back for an exam after I had been on the Lexapro for at least 6 months.
    At about 7 months, which was this past August 2016, I had my AME exam for the SSRI Special Issusnce. I was also referred to a psychologist and psychiatrist to do reports and a battery of testing such as AECogscreen, and about 5-6 other tests.
    Anyway, all of the results came back looking really good, so my AME put everything together including his recommendation letter, and all of the requested reports and forms, and sent it off to OKC. That was on September 24th, 2016. My AME told me it would be about 8 weeks to get the answer back from the FAA.
    Meanwhile, on November 30th, I received a letter from the FAA that stated that I needed to fill out all sorts of new forms and checklists for my submitted, which was submitted more than 2 months prior to getting this letter. It turns out that about 1 month after we submitted everything, using the FAA's hodge-podge of instructions, the FAA completely re-vamped their paperwork and processes, making it more streamlined, and easier to follow. The letter we got from FAA said we should have used those documents. But, as I said earlier, we submitted the full pack of documents the "old way" about a month before the new procedures went online. Needless to say, I was pretty mad, but my AME called someone in OKC and they straightened everything out.... supposedly, anyway...
    Now, we are in the middle of March 2017, my package has been to the FAA just 4 days short of 6 months. I call every week to check on the status, and they tell
    me every single time that it is in the "review process, in Washington DC, and there is nothing more I can do other than keep calling the same number every week for updates." I asked if there was a timeframe I could expect to hear something, and they told me "no timeframe".
    So, I have no idea when this SI will get issued, if ever. My AME says he called the federal flight surgeon in DC, but he told him the same thing, which is that we gotta keep waiting.

    Now, for the Doctor In this forum..is there anything else I can do to move this along? Would you recommend trying to talk to the FAA psychologist and see if he has even seen my file yet? This is a terrible position to be in because at this rate, the one year re-exam will come up later this summer, and have to go through more hoops.
    What can I expect now, waiting 6 months? And ideas?

    Thanks!
     
  6. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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    There is no doc on this forum anymore.

    @Derg - we really oughta close this one.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  7. Rocco

    Rocco New Member

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    Killbilly, I have been down this path for SSRI SI. Contact me if you still have questions.
     
  8. Flightattendantdenver

    Flightattendantdenver Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to read a follow-up to this story!
     
  9. Flightattendantdenver

    Flightattendantdenver Well-Known Member

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    I hope you finally heard something back! Could I ask what your experience was with the cogscreening? I'm going in for the same tests, and I'm genuinely worried that my 100% born-this-way terrible math skills will cause me to fail :eek: Good luck to you!
     
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