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Old 24th Dec 2005, 00:08   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 84
Question Sudafed and Drug Tests

Hi all,

I just had a pre-employment medical where blood was taken for a drug test. In the days leading up to the medical I had blocked ears and sinus conjestion which I needed to clear.

I took six sudafed tablets on a monday and had the medical on a wednesday. It occured to me after-the-fact that i've been told that sudafed is an ingredient of the drug speed.

During the medical I wrote down on the questionaire that I took them and the doctor did say that he could hear my lungs were a bit conjested, when I told him about the tablets he ummed for a little while and said I should be right.

My question is, will these tablets be detected, and if so will it make me look like I take speed?

Not something I want hanging over me.

Cost Index is offline  
Old 24th Dec 2005, 02:38   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: very close to STN!!
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Thumbs up sudafed

shouldn't have a problem with that unless you over dose on it.

i have been taking it for years whilst flying. an FAA doctor in anchorage, AK introduced me to it and i have used it since then. some times more than others. but have never had any questions at all after blood tests. and have always told the doctors and examiners about it- sudafed non drowsy. even no problem with the blood tests in korea, belgium or now in the UK.

stator vane is offline  
Old 3rd Jan 2006, 00:29   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2001
Location: A very Dark Place
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Re: Sudafed and Drug Tests

Sudafed is not an ingredient of the drug 'speed' (loosely, amphetamine and the phenylethylamines). Sudafed is 'pseudoephedrine hydrochloride' and Sudafed PE is 'phenylephrine hydrochloride'.

However, both pseudoephrine hydrochloride and phenylephrine hydrochloride can give false positives in a test for amphetamine, as can a host of other substances.

Since you mentioned taking it to the testing medic, I see no problem at all.

However, taking it during flying duties is very unlikely to be permitted - and this has little to do with whether an examining doctor thinks it is 'ok'. The taking of any drugs during flying duties tends to be based on 'nothing is permitted' unless it is 'specifically allowed'. This will depend on the regulations for the state of licence issue. Generally, in my experience, pilots take absolutely no notice of the rules relating to the allowability, or otherwise, of the drugs that can, or can't be taken. In all probability because they have no idea of what is allowed and what isn't. Most would be surprised to discover that virtually all are not, regardless of what the annual examining doctor says. I can't find a 'free' copy of the allowable drugs for JAR on the net but the South African regs (which are based on JAR) allow you to take 75mg/d aspirin (yes...1/4 tablet a day!), as a propylactic/anticoagulant...not 3 to get rid of a hangover (that's twelve day's worth)! Paracetamol is NOT permitted during flying. And 'low dose oral contraceptives after a 3 month stabilisation period'..... yes... go on the pill, and you are technically grounded for three months. Just watch how pleased ops will be, finding out you have a new boyfriend. Zantac? I bet some Ppruners are taking that little godsend! No flying within 12 hours mind.

Yes, a lot of old nonsense. And I suggest that is why a list of what is allowed, and not allowed, is not made freely available at the annual medical or at any other time for that matter. Most fleets around the world would be grounded if pilots knew the requirements and decided to be honest.

And do I take Sudafed when flying? Mmmm, don't think I will answer that one!!

Last edited by Gerund; 3rd Jan 2006 at 00:51.
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Old 3rd Jan 2006, 10:40   #4 (permalink)

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Metro
Posts: 170
Re: Sudafed and Drug Tests

Its a sh!te drug anyway.

It'll work for a few doses, but usually causes "rebound" on stopping.

Not very effective I'm afraid.
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Old 3rd Jan 2006, 10:46   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Down at the sharp pointy end, where all the weather is made.
Age: 68
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Re: Sudafed and Drug Tests

I tried Sudafed to relieve nasal congestion but I found some undesirable side-effects - maybe it was just me but it made me feel 'edgy', almost afraid, a most peculiar feeling. I regard myself as being quite rational with a positive outlook but I definitely noticed a change of mood. Perhaps it was just co-incidence.

Anyhow, I have now changed to a nasal spray called Dexa-Rhinaspray which I take VERY occasionally if I get 'bunged-up'. One small spray lasts me over 6 months. No side effects that I've noticed.

Interesting about the Paracetamol.


ps where's caffeine on the list?
TheOddOne is offline  
Old 3rd Jan 2006, 10:50   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London
Posts: 32
Re: Sudafed and Drug Tests

Dunno if any of you guys follow the great sport of rugby, but Sudafed is very much a prohibited substance.

A few years back, Lions and Ireland's Eric Miller had a bad cold before a test against SA in Cape Town. His Dad got him some Sudafed and like an idiot he took it. The Lions management got the here about it and he was omitted from the side as if he'd been tested a minimum 2 year ban would have been the result.

So beware over the counter stuff!
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Old 3rd Jan 2006, 11:35   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Re: Sudafed and Drug Tests

Some of you will be familiar with Airworthiness Notices issued by the CAA. Notice number 47 "Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers - Personal responsibility when medically unfit or ubder the influence of drink or drugs" contains in it's appendix the following ;

"SUDAFED" is the trade name of a preperation containing Pseudo-ephedrine hydrochloride. This may be prescribed by GPs for the relief of nasal congestion. Side effects reported however are anxiety, tremor, rapid pulse and headache. The preperation does not contain anti-histamines which could sedate and cause drowsiness but the effects can nevertheless affect skilled performance. SUDAFED, therefore, is not a preperation to be taken when making engineering decisions or performing licenced duties.

Just thought you might find that interesting.
Wodrick is online now  
Old 10th Jan 2006, 18:27   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2003
Location: uk
Posts: 688
Re: Sudafed and Drug Tests

Sudafed can have some quite adverse side effects. That edgy feeling described by one poster was experienced by me or more exactly nightmares but during the day.

I had taken too much by taking sudafed tablets and a cold relief preparation.

Very unpleasant and helpful to have a family member around to hold me down.

It is very important to check on the composition of some of these medicines to specifically avoid an in advertant overdose.

Paracetamol is the worst and it can cause liver damage or even death.
chrisbl is offline  
Old 10th Jan 2006, 21:24   #9 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 2,400
Re: Sudafed and Drug Tests

In reply to the original question:

Dunno what they test for. So can not answer the question. However you did mention it to the doctor and should therefore be OK, or so one would have hoped.

Pseudo-ephedrine is allowed by the FAA as a decongestant (Note that this does not mean it is allowed by other regulators (CASA/CAA UK etc)

I personally hardly ever prescribe Pseudofed tabs as you can put the stuff very effectively there were it has to work, your snout, with a nasal spray.

No doubt some of it will be absorbed and may give systemic effects elsewhere in your body but the concentration will be lower than by taking the tablets.

As with most medication the principal issue is that most conditions (for which you then take medication) render you unfit to fly, rather than the medication itself.

I would personally not fly with a cold if I had to take a decongestant.
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