St Catherine's Surgery

First + Second Floor, Wing 4, St Catherine's Health Centre, Church Road, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH42 0LQ

Telephone: 0151 643 6700

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Information about the use of Diazepam for fear of flying

Diazepam in the UK is a Class C/schedule IV controlled drug. The following short guide outlines our concerns around using diazepam in patients who are nervous about flying.
• Diazepam is a sedative, which means it makes you sleepy, more relaxed and can significantly delay your reaction times. If there is an emergency during the flight it may impair your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and react to the situation.
• Sedative drugs can make you fall asleep, however this is a unnatural (non-REM) sleep which means you won’t move around as much as during natural sleep. There is concern that this can cause you to be at increased risk of developing a blood clot (DVT) in the leg or even the lung which can be dangerous. This risk is greater if your flight is greater than 4 hours.
• Whilst most people find sedative medications like diazepam have a relaxing effect, a small number of people can feel more agitated or even aggressive after taking it. Diazepam can also cause disinhibition and lead you to behave in a way that you would not normally.
• Diazepam and similar drugs are illegal in several countries. They may be confiscated or you may find yourself in trouble with the police if you are carrying any on arrival.
• 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.
• Prescribing guidelines doctors follow, don’t recommend using medications like diazepam in phobias.

We appreciate that fear of flying is very real and very frightening. A lower risk approach is to tackle this properly and hopefully permanently, with a Fear of Flying course run by airlines:

• EasyJet Tel: 0203 8131644
• British Airways Tel: 01252 793250
• Virgin Tel: 01423 714900

Good advice and techniques can be found here: How to manage a fear of flying and flying anxiety – Patient UK

If you would still like a prescription for fear of flying, please sign the form below and return to reception. Please note that this will be a private prescription and will incur a cost.


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