Medication For Flying

Medication For Flying, Stopping Menstruation, Dental or Hospital Procedures

Please note that the Practice does not issue medication for the phobia of flying, stopping menstruation, dental or hospital procedures. If you have a procedure at a dentist or hospital booked and you need a prescription due to a phobia, you will need to request this from them and not from the GP.

Fear of Flying

Requests for medications such as Benzodiazepines for flying phobia are not approved or licenced treatments on the NHS. There are a number of reasons as below:

  • Benzodiazepines such as diazepam, alprazolam or lorazepam and similar sedative medications are “controlled drugs”- drugs which have the potential for significant harm because of the risk of dangerous side effects. This means there is strict guidance for safe and appropriate prescribing of them. 
  • Medicines like diazepam can cause excessive sedation and impair decision making. Although emergencies in the air are a rare occurrence, it would be critical that passengers are able to follow the instructions of cabin crew and evacuate QUICKLY. If you are under the influence of Diazepam you may not be able to do this, ultimately putting the life of you and other passengers at risk. After a flight it can impair functional abilities such as driving.
  • Medicines like Diazepam cause you to sleep, however it is an unnatural sleep with reduced movement. This can cause you to be at increased risk of developing blood clots (also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)or pulmonary embolisms (PEs), which you are already at a slightly increased risk of on an aeroplane
  • The air on a plane contains less oxygen than the air we normally breathe in. Benzodiazepines can slow your normal breathing rate, reducing further your oxygen levels. If you suffer with any lung conditions e.g. asthma, COPD, this combination can exacerbate your condition.
  • Whilst most people find benzodiazepines sedating, a small number experience paradoxical agitation and aggression. They can also cause disinhibition and lead patients to behave in a way that they would not normally. This could impact on the safety of other passengers as well as you. This is particularly likely if they are combined with alcohol.

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. We have listed a number of these below: 

Fear of Flying - Sussex Travel Clinic

Patients who wish to take benzodiazepines or hypnotics for flight anxiety will need to consult with a GP privately, request a private script or attend a travel clinic.

Medications to help deal with anxiety or claustrophobia with hospital /dental procedures or scans

Medications- for example Benzodiazepines such as diazepam, alprazolam or lorazepam, may be used to calm anxiety before dental or hospital procedures or to help manage claustrophobia during scans. 

A prescription for sedation intended for use before scans, hospital procedures or dental work should come from the clinician directly involved with your care during the procedure- such as your Dentist or radiologist. 

There are a number of reasons for this as below:

  • The clinician supervising the procedure, and not the patient’s GP will be best placed to understand the nature of the procedure and any medications that might be needed during it e.g. for sedation or pain relief. 
  • They can safely assess the benefits and risks of using any extra sedative during the procedure.

If you feel you may require a sedative medication you should contact the dentist or radiology department before your planned procedure. It is not an approved practice for Gps to prescribe these and will be declined. 

The hospital or Dental teams are able and willing to prescribe these medications when needed. 

Medication that may be needed when travelling “Just in case” and for postponement of menstruation 

  • A person is not entitled to medication on the NHS where there is no existing condition.
  • The prescribing of medicines which may be requested in case of developing an aliment whilst travelling will require a private prescription if the item cannot be purchased over the counter (e.g. from a community pharmacy). These include: 
    • Travel kits, 
    • Antibiotics e.g. for urine infection, diarrhoea , 
    • Medication (e.g. melatonin or benzodiazepines) used for jet lag, 
    • Oral rehydration sachets
  • Prescribing of medication in order to postpone menstruation for e.g. a holiday or event is not to be routinely provided on an NHS prescription in line with national and local guidance. 
  • If your GP practice deems a prescription to be clinically appropriate it can be provided on a private prescription.
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