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Diazepam for Fear of Flying

Charlton Hill Surgery does not prescribe sedatives such as diazepam for fear of flying. This policy decision has been made by the GP Partners and is adhered to by all prescribers working in the practice. The reasons for this can be found below:

  1. These medications make you more sleepy and less able to think clearly. If there was an emergency of the plane you might not be able to react quickly of follow instructions properly.  The airline is likely to refuse to allow you to board if they know you have taken these medications.
  2. These medications can make you fall asleep, this is different to natural sleep and you will move around less. This puts you at increased risk of a serious condition called deep vein thrombosis.
  3. Most of the time people will become sedated by these medication but occasionally they can make people agitated and aggressive. This could cause safety problems and potentially legal problems for you.
  4. Diazepam and similar drugs are not licenced for fear of flying, prescribing them for this could cause legal problems for the prescribing doctor.
  5. Diazepam and related drugs are controlled drugs in many countries and you could face legal problems if you have them on you.
  6. Taking these drugs can stop you getting used to a phobia such as flying and mean you never learn how to manage the anxiety.

What should you do about fear of flying

Fear of flying is very real and we appreciate how frightening it can be. There are many things you can do to help reduce the anxiety, see the resources below

For further info see here, or Patient.co.uk, or Lovefly.co.uk – (podcasts and online help as well as flying courses)

A proven approach to tackle this for the long-term with a Fear of Flying course run by the airlines. We have listed a number of these below.

EasyJet
British Airways
Virgin Atlantic

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.