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Medication Class — Diet aids/weight reduction/appetite suppressants

Medication Class Description:

For more information on this topic, please search "obesity and weight control" in our Medical Articles section.

Over-the-counter products containing  pseudoephedrine may be used if there are no side effects.  Phenylpropanolamine and ephedra have been removed from the market by the FDA.    Ephedra may contribute to heart rhythm disturbances that adversely effect medical certification.  

Some of OTC medications of this type contain antihistamines. These medications are not allowed for flight deck use and have a waiting period similar to that of the OTC cold medications.

Prescription appetite suppressants such as Redux, Phen/Fen, Meridia and Pondimin are not allowed for flight deck use.  

Xenical (orlistat) is a "fat blocking" lipase inhibitor that reduces weight by blocking the absorption of fat from the intestine by 1/3, thus reducing calories absorbed from the intestines.  Major side effects include abdominal gas production and greasy, loose stools.   These symptoms may be worse at altitude. Some problems exist in vitamin absorption in users of this new weight reduction medication.  The FAA will approve pilots using the medication after a two week ground test period without significant side effects before returning to flying.

Medications Within Class:

Phenylpropanolamine, ephedra, Redux, Phen/Fen, Meridia, Pondimin, Dexatrim, Xenical (orlistat)