- Director, AOPA Medical Certification Services
- 25 years assisting AOPA members
- Former operating room and Emergency Medical Technician
- Pilot since 1973
Xarelto Now an Approved Medication for Flight
By Gary Crump
Good news on the medication front: The FAA recently accepted Xarelto as an allowed anticoagulant for use in aviation. Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is a new type of anticoagulation drug that has a much more favorable side effect profile than its pharmaceutical cousin, Pradaxa (dabigatran) that produced disappointing side effects associated with uncontrollable bleeding in some patients who were using it.
Xarelto is an oral anticoagulant that is used to treat and prevent blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) that can lead to a more serious condition known as pulmonary embolus. It is also prescribed to lower the risk of a blood clot in the presence of heart arrhythmias called atrial fibrillation; we expect to see many older pilots with atrial fibrillation being switched to Xarelto.
Other than the obvious benefit of being able to control bleeding, people using Xarelto will no longer have to track and monitor the INR (International Normalized Ratio) that measures the clotting characteristics of blood when using warfarin (Coumadin), a medication that has been in use for many years.
The FAA will want to see that you have been on Xarelto at least two weeks before submitting any medical records for consideration, and of course, the condition being treated must be stable. Because of the condition and the use of Xarelto, the FAA will certify pilots under special issuance authorizations with periodic status reports.
For more expert medical advice and professional assistance with protecting your pilot and medical certificates all year round, visit—and consider joining—AOPA Pilot Protection Services.
Gary Crump, AOPA’s director of medical certification, is a former operating room technician and emergency medical technician who has been assisting AOPA members for more than 25 years. He’s also a medical expert for AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services and has been flying since 1973
Dr. Jonathan Sackier
- Surgeon, Clinical Professor
- 30 years of healthcare experience
- Author of the “Fly Well” column in AOPA Pilot
- Flying since 15 years old, owns a Columbia 400
New Year's 'fly well' Resolutions
By Dr. Jonathan Sackier
Most resolutions fade by Jan. 2, but getting healthy keeps you flying longer, so give it a shot. Let’s look at a few corollaries to benefit your health, inside and outside the cockpit.
First, weight has clear flying implications. Expensive fuel drives a desire to limit excess on-board weight. But what about your weight? Americans are getting heavier and heavier. Looking around the ramp, I see that our brethren and sisterthren (OK, maybe there's no such word but if we had more lady pilots I bet there would be) pilots are not immune. Lose weight—it will reduce fuel burn and keep your dirty side down for a lot longer. Use smaller plates to help eat smaller portions. Cut out processed foods and high sugar and carb stuff, eat more fruit and vegetables.
Second, move! Any exercise helps reduce weight but also benefits heart and lungs, gets the bowels functioning, and evidence suggests, improves brain function. You do not have to join a gym, buy Lycra and get sweaty. Merely a nice brisk walk for 30 minutes every other day. Easy, yes?
If you smoke, stop. Period. Just stop. As for booze, obviously not anywhere near a flight, but in moderation it provides social gratification and wine certainly has a positive health benefit. Other “recreational” pharmaceuticals? Not only an FAA no-no, but they are also illegal and really not good for you. So get help and quit.
Happy holiday season and may 2013 bring you clear skies, a tailwind, and the best of health.
Dr. Jonathan Sackier is a surgeon, aircraft owner and AOPA Pilot Protection Services expert.
Tip of the Month:
How to Cut Back on Fats and Sweets
We are becoming a progressively heavier society and just as excess weight impedes aircraft performance, so it damages your performance. Pick one "naughty" food per week and instead of eating this in routine manner, take some time to enjoy it in isolation. An ice cream sundae eaten with your total focus will taste a lot better and you will eat less than if sitting in front of the TV.
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