Benzodiazepine policy

Benzodiazepines and Other Sedating Agents For Fear of Flying

We are often asked to prescribe sedative drugs, such as diazepam (Valium), for fear of flying. We have recently agreed a practice policy (effective July 2023) that we will no longer prescribe these drugs for fear of flying.

There are several good reasons why prescribing of drugs such as diazepam is not safe or recommended:

  • Diazepam and similar drugs are not recommended for treatment of phobias. Aviation specialists do not support their use for fear of flying.
  • Using a sedative medication means you will be sleepy with slower reaction times. This may impact on your ability to respond to an emergency during the flight.
  • If using a sedative during a flight, you may move around less which could increase your risk of developing a blood clot (DVT) in your leg or lung.
  • In a small number of people sedative medications can cause agitation, aggression, or confusion. This could impact on your safety, and those of other passengers.
  • Diazepam and similar drugs are illegal or controlled drugs in some countries. This means bringing them into certain countries, or moving between countries could have legal implications.
  • Diazepam (and other medications) stay in your system for some time. If your job requires you to submit to random drug testing, you may fail this tes

We recognise that fear of flying is real and frightening and we don’t underestimate the impact it can have. We recommend tackling this properly by using self-help resources or considering one of the ‘Fear of Flying’ course run by many airlines. We do not recommend any specific course but you may find the following links useful.

Self-help options

Symptoms – Phobias – NHS (


British Airways   

London Heathrow fear of flying courses | Flying With Confidence


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