FAA Emphasizes 48-Hour Flight Ban For Pilots Taking Chloroquine

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Pilots using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection (COVID-19) cannot fly while on the medication and for 48 hours after the last dose, according to guidance issued by Director of the Medical Specialties Division at the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine Dr. Penny Giovanetti. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are typically used for prevention and treatment of malaria or treatment of autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Both drugs are currently being tested for possible use in preventing or treating COVID-19, but evidence of their effectiveness remains inconclusive.

“Aeromedically, we are unwilling to accept the known risks of these medications, such as cardiac rhythm disturbances and hypoglycemia, with no known benefit(s) against COVID-19,” wrote Giovanetti. “Further, there is no standardized protocol for prophylaxis. Without knowing the dose and duration of use, it is not possible to perform a relative risk assessment compared to weekly use of these medications for malaria prophylaxis.”

In a statement to CNN, the FAA noted that both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine were reviewed by the Federal Air Surgeon when they entered the market and “have long been considered generally incompatible for those performing safety related aviation duties.” The agency emphasized that its policies would be updated based on “the best scientific evidence available.”

Dr. Penny Giovanetti, Director of the Medical Specialties Division within the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine, has…

Posted by Allied Pilots Association on Monday, April 13, 2020
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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