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Sedatives for Travel

Diazepam Prescription Request for Travel
Patient Information Leaflet

Patients sometimes ask doctors for diazepam or similar drugs because of a fear of flying or to help keep calm for travel and similar purposes. These medications are no longer thought to be safe for such use. The Canisbay and Castletown Group practice policy is that we are unable to prescribe these medications for such purposes.

We have several reasons why we have taken this decision:

1. Diazepam is a sedative. This means, the medication makes you sleepy and more relaxed. In case of an emergency during the flight, this could impair your ability to concentrate, follow instructions, or react to the situation. This could seriously affect the safety of you and the people around you.

2. Sedative drugs can make you fall asleep, however, when you sleep it is an unnatural non-REM sleep. This means, your movements during sleep are reduced and this can place you at an increased risk of developing blood clots (DVT). These blood clots are very dangerous and can even prove fatal. This risk further increases if your flight is over 4 hours long.

3. Although most people respond to benzodiazepines like Diazepam with sedation, a small proportion experiences the opposite effect and can become aggressive. They can also lead to disinhibition and make you behave in ways you normally wouldn’t. This could also impact on your safety and the safety of your fellow passengers.

4. National prescribing guidelines followed by doctors advise against the use of benzodiazepines in cases of phobia. Any doctor prescribing diazepam for a fear of flying would be taking a significant legal risk as this goes against these guidelines. Benzodiazepines are only licensed for short-term use in a crisis in generalised anxiety. If this is the problem you suffer with, you should seek proper care and support for your mental health, and it would not be advisable to go on a flight.

5. In several countries, diazepam and similar drugs are illegal. They may be confiscated, and you may be arrested for possession of a controlled substance.

6. Diazepam remain in the body for a long time. You may fail random drug testing if you are subjected to such procedures, as it is required in some jobs.

We appreciate a fear of flying is very real and very frightening and can be debilitating. However, there are better and more effective ways of tackling the problem. We recommend you that you enrol in a Fear of Flying Course, which is run by several airlines. These courses are far more effective than diazepam, they have none of the undesirable effects and the positive effects of the courses continue after the courses have been completed.

Find out more:
British Airways  Tel: 01252 793 250
Fear of Flying Courses Easy Jet  Tel: 0203 8131644
Virgin Atlantic Tel: 01423 714900 1252250


Canisbay and Castletown Group Practice