Stop SSRIs after refusal of Med certificate

Hi there.

I’m trying one last time to get my medical, and wanted to throw this out for thoughts, comments (especially hoping that Dr. Chien or another AME will comment). I have discussed this plan with my AME and she thinks it should be written up. My wife started her pilot training and to be honest, I’m a little jealous. 🙂 She’s having so much fun with it that I’m going to try again to get my medical.

Brief history: SSRI use for 27 years following my only suicide attempt, and barely an attempt because I stopped and drove to the doctor for treatment for depression. No other incidents. I’ve changed jobs three times since this incident (including a 20 year stint in my most recent job prior to the current one), and I’ve had my dream job for 5 years. I’ve had NO incidents since the first one, the SSRI I’m taking is on the FAA approved list, but I don’t want to have to spend over $3000 on a COGSCREEN every two years.

In addition, I moved across the United States to pursue my dream job.

I only continued to take the SSRIs for those 27 years because I was afraid to stop taking the drugs. My mood is stable.

I applied for a 3rd class in January 2021 (after an A in ground school) and was turned down only because I did not take the HIMS/COGSCREEN route. I was on SSRIs at the time. I succeeded in everything else.

PLAN: I stopped taking the SSRIs with my nightly dose on Monday February 7th. According to the FAA SSRI Decision Path 1 document (link below), if I’m off medication for at least 60 days without any significant change, I should (in theory) be good to go. I informed my AME and PCP of the exact date I stopped taking the medication so that it is on my file. I informed many people around me (family, colleagues) about what I am doing and asked them to monitor my mood closely so they can tell me if something is wrong.

The plan is to wait 90 days (end of semester) and then do my medical request/take my exam. Once I pass the exam, I will take my written exam and then continue with flight training.

It’s been a week and other than not sleeping as much (which I hear is typical at first when coming off an SSRI), I’m doing great. By next Friday, I will have about 0% blood level of the drug based on the 35 hour half-life of the drug.

Thoughts/comments?

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/aam/ame/guide/media/SSRI%20Decision%20Path%20-%20I.pdf