Medication Flying Anxiety
Medications in Flying
Use of Benzodiazepines (and related medications) for flying
Benzodiazepines (e.g. Diazepam/ Lorazepam/Temazepam/Alprazolam/ Clonazepam) are drugs which have been in use since the 1960s for treatment of a wide range of conditions including alcohol withdrawal, agitation and restlessness, anxiety, epilepsy and seizures, neurological disorders, muscle spasms, psychiatric disorders and sleep disturbance
The following short guide outlines the issues surrounding its use with regards to flying and why the surgery no longer prescribes such medications for this purpose.
People often come to us requesting a prescription for Diazepam or Lorazepam for fear of flying or assisting with sleep during flights. Diazepam is a sedative, which means it makes you sleepy and more relaxed. There are a number of very good reasons why prescribing this drug is not recommended
Although plane emergencies are a rare occurrence there are concerns about reduced awareness and reaction times for patients taking Diazepam which could pose a significant risk of not being able to react in a manner which could save their life in the event of an emergency on board necessitating evacuation.
Whilst most people find Diazepam sedating, a small number have paradoxical agitation and aggression. They can also cause disinhibition and lead you to behave in a way that you would not normally which can pose a risk on the plane. This could impact on your safety as well as that of other passengers and could also get you into trouble with the law. A similar effect can be seen with alcohol, which has led to people being removed from flights.
Given the above we will no longer be providing Diazepam or similar drugs for flight anxiety and instead suggest the below aviation industry recommended flight anxiety courses.
Flight anxiety does not come under the remit of General Medical Services as defined in the GP contract and so we are not obliged to prescribe for this. Patients who still wish to take benzodiazepines for flight anxiety are advised to consult with a private GP or travel clinic.
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