Diazepam Prescriptions for Fear of Flying
The surgery will no longer be prescribing Diazepam or similar drugs for flight anxiety.
The reasons for this can be found below:
- Diazepam in the UK is a Class C/Schedule IV controlled drug. According to the prescribing guidelines doctors follow (British National Formulary (BNF) and NICE guidance), diazepam is contraindicated (not allowed) in treating phobic states. The BNF alsostates that “the use of benzodiazepines to treat short-term ‘mild’ anxiety is inappropriate.” They are only licensed for the short-term management of a crisis in generalised anxiety. If you feel that you are having an anxiety crisis, then you should be getting proper care and support for your mental health and not going on a flight.
- Diazepam is a sedative, which means it makes you sleepy and more relaxed. If there is an emergency during the flight it may impair your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and react to the situation. This could have serious safety consequences for you and those around you.
- Sedative drugs can make you fall asleep, however when you do sleep it is an unnatural non-REM sleep. This means you won’t move around as much as during natural sleep. This can cause you to be at increased risk of developing a blood clot (DVT) in the leg or even the lung. Blood clots are very dangerous and can even prove fatal. This risk is even greater if your flight is greater than four hours.
- Whilst most people find benzodiazepines like diazepam sedating, a small number may have the opposite effect and can experience agitation and aggression. They can also reduce your inhibitions and lead you to behave in a way that you would not normally. This could impact on your safety as well as that of other passengers and could also get you into trouble with the law.
- Diazepam and similar drugs are illegal in a number of countries. They may be confiscated, or you may find yourself in trouble with the police.
- Diazepam stays in your system for quite a while. If your job requires you to submit to random drug testing, you may fail this having taken diazepam.
- 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.
We appreciate that fear of flying is very real and very frightening. A much better approach is to tackle this properly with a Fear of Flying course run by the airlines and we have listed a number of these below.
Easy Jet www.fearlessflyer.easyjet.com Tel 0203 8131644
British Airways www.flyingwithconfidence.com Tel 01252 793250
Virgin www.flyingwithoutfear.co.uk Tel 01423 714900