Orchard Surgery Melbourn does not prescribe sedatives for fear of flying or ahead of a medical or dental procedure. This policy has been made by the GP Partners and is adhered to by all prescribers working in the practice. The reasons for this can be found below:
- 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 4 hours.
- Whilst most people find benzodiazepines cause sedation, a small number have paradoxical agitation and aggression. This could impact on your safety as well as that of other passengers and could also get you into trouble with the law.
- According to the prescribing guidelines doctors follow (BNF)Benzodiazepines are contraindicated (not allowed) in phobia. Your doctor is taking a significant legal risk by prescribing against these guidelines. They are only licensed short-term for a crisis in generalised anxiety, which is backed up by guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. If this is the case, you should be getting proper care and support for your mental health and not going on a flight.
- 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 a while. If your job requires you to submit to random drug testing you may fail this having taken diazepam.
- Should another health professional require you to have a sedative for a medical procedure then they will be required to prescribe this.
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. There are some numbers listed below.
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