Medication & Scuba Diving

a deptherapy blog

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05 Jun2018

Medication & Scuba Diving

by Dr. Richard Cullen | 05th Jun 2018

Deptherapy applicants need to understand the relationship between medication and scuba diving. Some medications mean that individuals cannot dive as the medication is dangerous

Other medications, depending on the daily dosage or the combination with other prescribed medications may mean they are contraindicated to scuba diving.

As we dive the atmospheric pressure increases and this increase in pressure enhances the effect of the drug. This may cause blackouts or irrational behaviour.

Many medications used to treat pain and PTSD affect transmissions to the brain and potentially the effect underwater could be fatal.

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We take advice from the doctors at the London Diving Chamber who are extremely experienced and knowledgeable in dive medicine and the effect of various drugs.

Our decision as to whether we will take you on the programme if you’re taking medication will be based on their opinion. If from our initial enquiries you are on a drug that is dangerous or you are on a high dosage of the SSRI group of medications, or you are taking a combination of medications that are contraindicated to diving you will not be called forward for a 'fit to dive' medical with our medical team.

We do not accept the opinions of GPs or consultants as to whether they consider you fit to dive.

If you progress to a fit to dive medical you will be required to produce a letter from your GP/Consultant setting out your condition and your medication regime, including daily dosage.

Attending the dive medical does not automatically mean you will be certified as fit to dive.

Some programme members have managed to reduce medications and daily dosages to a level that is acceptable to our medical team. Michael Hawley did this over a two year period Danny Martin over a shorter period.

If you come off medication, we need evidence of that from your GP and you will need to show you have been clear of the medications that caused concern for 3 months or as determined by our medical team.

Many who apply and are on medications that are contraindicated to diving would make superb candidates for the programme and would benefit massively from our programme. However the risk of taking such people onto the programme is too high. Potentially the individual concerned puts their own life at risk, the lives of their diving buddies and the instructional team at risk.

The individual would not be covered by their insurance nor would we as Deptherapy. The cost of treatment abroad is massively high and without insurance there is NO treatment.

Are there exceptions? The answer is NO. If you want to come on the programme you need to work with your medical team to come off those medications that are considered 'dangerous' or if you are on a daily dosage of a drug or combination of drugs that are contraindicated to diving you need to reduce dosages etc to an acceptable level.

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