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Medication Class — Steroids

Medication Class Description:

On a short term basis, the FAA allows use of corticosteroids at a total dose of 20 mg or less of prednisone per day provided there are no side effects.  Initial treatment with steroid dose packs, at a total daily dose of greater than 20 mg is not allowed for flight duty use.  Chronic steroid use is authorized on a case-by-case basis.  As mentioned above, the underlying condition being treated by steroids is the key issue with the FAA.  A wide variety of medical problems are treated with steroids.  Conditions such as poison ivy are not aeromedically significant, whereas conditions treated with steroids such as multiple sclerosis or recurrently used for asthma would restrict the pilot from flying until waived by the FAA.

Injections of steroids for non-disqualifying conditions, such as joint or back discomfort which does not limit function, is disqualifying for 24 hours following the injection.  The pilot may then return to flight duties and report the physician visit on the next medical application.

Anabolic steroids (muscle building compounds) have significant side effects and are only used legally for very specific medical conditions.  Use for these conditions may be waivered by the FAA after an observation period and reporting to the FAA.  Use without a prescription is illegal and will not be approved by the FAA for pilots.