Medication on the Job (Airline Pilot)


"I am an airline pilot and would like to try Ritalin on my vacation. If I try it for four days, how long do I have to wait until I am legal to fly again?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

The FAA guidelines for commercial pilots are very strict about using Ritalin and maintaining your license. I would not want to suggest any strategy that would allow you to take Ritalin and not have it show up on a urine test. There are other medications that can be used to treat ADHD that are not of concern to the FAA. Discuss these with your doctor.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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