At Living Well we will not prescribe Diazepam for patients who wish to use this for fear of flying. Our reasons for this decision are listed below:
- Diazepam is a sedative. This means the medicine makes you sleepy. If there was 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.
- Sedative drugs can make you fall asleep, however when you sleep it is unnatural non-REM sleep. This means your movements during sleep are reduced and this can place you at increased risk of blood clots. These blood clots are very dangerous and can even prove fatal. This risk increases further if your flight is over four hours long.
- Although most people respond to benzodiazepines like diazepam with sedation a small proportion experience the opposite effects and can become aggressive. They can make you behave in ways you normally wouldn’t. This could also impact on your safety and the safety of your fellow passengers or could lead you to get in trouble with the law.
- National prescribing guidelines followed by doctors also don’t allow the use of benzodiazepines in cases of fear or 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 fly.
- In several countries, diazepam and similar drugs are illegal. They would be confiscated, and you might find yourself in trouble with the police for being in control of an illegal substance.
We appreciate a fear of flying is very real and very frightening. However, there are much better and effective ways of tackling the problem. We recommend you tackle your problem with a fear of flying courses which are run by several airlines. They are far more effective than diazepam, have none of the undesirable side effects and the positive effects of the courses continue after the courses have been completed.
Some of the courses on offer include: