August 19, 2021

Alternate COVID-19 Treatments and FAA Medical Reporting

ALPA has received inquiries regarding alternate COVID-19 treatments, along with what is required to be reported to your aviation medical examiner (AME) at the time of your next Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical examination concerning illness from the virus.

As a reminder, last year the FAA issued a policy letter on the use of use of chloroquine (Aralen) /hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for COVID-19 prophylaxis:

“Use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection is disqualifying while on the medication and for 48 hours after the last dose before reporting for flight or other safety related duties. There is currently no satisfactory scientific evidence that use of these medications decreases the severity of COVID-19. There is no evidence that these medications prevent COVID-19 infection. Aeromedically, we are unwilling to accept the known risks of these medications, such as cardiac rhythm disturbances and hypoglycemia, with no known benefit(s) against COVID-19.”      

The same FAA policy applies to any other medications not approved by the FDA for prophylaxis for, or treatment of, COVID-19. You must list any prescriptions for chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine on the MedXPress application at the time of your aviation medical. Also, note that FAA requires a 48-hour no-fly/no-safety-related duty interval after each dose of COVID-19 vaccines, which includes booster shots.

Earlier this year, the FAA provided guidance on how to report COVID-19 illnesses and recovery to the FAA. It provides guidance on the types of information that must be reported and where it is to be written on FAA medical reporting form 8500-8.

The FAA suggests that AMEs report the level and interventions of COVID-19 infection in Block 60. Some selections could include: 

  • Fully recovered, no residual symptoms or clinical findings.
  • Fully recovered, following a prolonged outpatient course.
  • Fully recovered, following hospitalization not requiring intensive care.

The following two levels may result in a deferral of the exam: 

  • Fully recovered, following hospitalization that did require intensive care.
  • Ongoing residual signs and/or symptoms of confirmed COVID-19.

Pilots should expect the above reporting/medical issuance to occur if they have contracted, recovered, or are currently experiencing symptoms from COVID-19. Pilots who have recovered from COVID-19 may want to take a copy of the FAA’s policy letter and any medical records related to treatment for COVID-19 with them to their next FAA medical examination.

For questions or additional information, please contact ALPA’s Aeromedical Office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. MT at, 720-857-6117, or toll free 1-866-AEROMED (1-866-237-6633).