Obtaining your FAA medical certificate on Wellbutrin is finally an option! Our firm has worked with many airmen using Wellbutrin, which was previously an aeromedically disqualifying medication for the FAA. Unfortunately, because Wellbutrin has been a disqualifying medication, the only option available to these airmen was to discontinue use of the medication or transition to a different medication. Good news came from the Office of Aerospace Medicine on May 31, 2023, when it was announced that Wellbutrin would no longer be ineligible for consideration under a special issuance authorization. Note, however, that only Wellbutrin XL and Wellbutrin SR have been approved for certification.
What does this mean for you? If you are taking Wellbutrin XL or Wellbutrin SR for anxiety, major depressive disorder, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, dysthymic disorder, or other non-depression related conditions, you now have an option of remaining on the medication and achieving airman medical certification. Keep in mind, however, that while this medication is now approved for consideration under a special issuance authorization, it is still disqualifying for regular medical certification. As such, in order to achieve airman medical certification with the FAA while using either Wellbutrin XL or Wellbutrin SR, you must still undertake the necessary steps to achieve a special issuance authorization, or waiver. This process is the same as the FAA’s stated processes for SSRI Decision Pathway II. As a result, if you are on Wellbutrin XL or Wellbutrin SR, you will still need to engage with a HIMS-trained professionals and undertake the necessary steps to achieve a special issuance authorization.
Keep in mind that using Wellbutrin XL or Wellbutrin SR comes with the same perquisites for airman medical certification as the four, “approved,” SSRI medications. Specifically, keep in mind that your application for airman medical certification and special issuance authorization may be denied if you have ever had symptoms of or a history of psychosis or suicidal ideation or attempt(s). You will also have difficulty establishing eligibility for a special issuance authorization if you’ve ever been treated with electro convulsive therapy, if you’ve been treated with multiple SSRI medications concurrently, or been treated with a multi-agent drug protocol. Learn more here.
Why involve a FAA medical attorney when you are applying for a FAA medical certificate while taking Wellbutrin XL or Wellbutrin SR? Despite what you may hear from other pilots, the medical certification process is more so a legal process than a medical process. Ensuring that your doctor is developing the proper documentation regarding your use of Wellbutrin XL or Wellbutrin SR, as needed, can be a difficult task. There are many nuances in what the FAA needs to see in order to effectively and efficiently evaluate your case. A FAA medical attorney can evaluate your records, prepare a plan for best presentation of your case to the AME or FAA, and best argue your medical eligibility to the Federal Air Surgeon, with an eye for potential, future appeal. Furthermore, if your medical documentation is as strong as possible upon initial submission, in doing so, hopefully, you will avoid unnecessary delay. If you have failed to report your use of Wellbutrin on your FAA medical application, a FAA medical attorney can give you counsel on how to rectify your omission.
If you are concerned about obtaining your FAA medical certificate on Wellbutrin, call the FAA attorneys at The Ison Law Firm. We are happy to evaluate your case and discuss with you a plan for presenting your case to your AME or the FAA. Aviation law is all we do. Nothing else.