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Prescribing of Sedation for Fear of Flying

April 2019

Due to a medical safety alert update received from an aviation trained doctor, we have been advised that we should no longer prescribe sedating drugs called benzodiazepines (diazepam/lorazepam/temazepam or midazolam) for the use of treating Fear of Flying.

Why we have made this decision?

We have taken the decision to put our patients' safety first and to follow this safety guidance and will no longer provide prescriptions for benzodiazepines for these reasons.

  1. The use of benzodiazepines causes longer reaction times and slowed thinking, which during flight will put the passenger at significant risk of not being able to act in a manner which could save their life in the event of a safety-critical scenario. 
  2. The use of benzodiazepines has the potential to increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
  3. The sedating effects can reduce respiratory function which has the potential to be life-threatening - even more so if there is a combination with alcohol.
  4. There is the possibility of increased aggression that may be reported by patients taking benzodiazepines and therefore has the potential to put other occupants of the aircraft at risk.
  5. Benzodiazepines are not recommended for those people with phobic states.
  6. It is illegal in some countries to import these drugs and so you will need an alternative solution for the homeward bound journey. 

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Our Recommendations

We recommend patients who have fear of flying research going on a fear of flying course. These are run by several major airlines and sometimes by local airports. We, unfortunately, are unable to recommend any specific courses.