Acne Medications : Rules for Pilots

FAA Policies on Pharmaceuticals for Airmen

Apr 2014

Guidance is compiled and interpreted by professional pilots and physicians at from the 2014 AME Guide, FAA and FDA web data ( &, instructions specified in the Aeronautical Information Manual, Federal Air Surgeon Bulletins from 1999-2015, and 14 CFR Part 61 and Part 67 (the FARs).


  1. Code of Federal Regulations (Legal Extract)

    • First-Class Airman Medical Certificate: 67.113(c)
    • Second-Class Airman Medical Certificate: 67.213(c)
    • Third-Class Airman Medical Certificate: 67.313(c)
  2. Medical History: Topical acne medications, such as Retin A, and oral antibiotics, such as tetracycline, used for acne are acceptable if the applicant is otherwise qualified.

    For applicants using oral isotretinoin (Accutane), there is a mandatory 2-week waiting period after starting isotretinoin prior to consideration. This medication can be associated with vision and psychiatric side effects of aeromedical concern - specifically decreased night vision/ night blindness and depression. These side-effects can occur even after cessation of isotretinoin. A report must be provided with detailed, specific comment on presence or absence of psychiatric and vision side-effects. The AME must document these findings in Block 60, Comments on History and Findings. Some applicants will have to be deferred. For applicants issued, there must be a NOT VALID FOR NIGHT FLYING restriction on the medical certificate. A waiting period and detailed information is required to remove this restriction. The restriction cannot be removed until all the requirements are met. See Pharmaceutical Considerations below.

  3. Aeromedical Decision Considerations: See Item 40, Skin.

  4. Protocol: N/A

  5. Pharmaceutical Considerations:

    • Use of oral isotretinoin must be permanently discontinued for at least 2 weeks prior to consideration date (confirmed by the prescribing physician) and;

    • Eye evaluation must be done in accordance with specifications in 8500-7 and;

    • The airman must provide a signed statement of discontinuation that:

      • Confirms the absence of any visual disturbances and psychiatric symptoms, and

      • Acknowledges requirement to notify the FAA and obtain clearance prior to performing any aviation safety-related duties if use of isotretinoin is resumed.

Summary: This page reviewed the medical and legal aviation aspects of Acne Medications compiled from recent FAA and FDA reports.

This page discussed Acne Medications : Rules for Pilots

Reminder: use to familiarize yourself with aviation medical regulations and guidelines, but always discuss your specific situation with one or more AMEs before dedicating resources toward expensive clinical workups. Find an AME now