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Sleeping Tablets for Flying Policy

We are unable to prescribe sleeping tablets, such as zopiclone, to treat fear of flying.

Sleeping tablets are medicines which make you sleepy and relaxed.

Our decision to cease prescribing sleeping tablets for flying anxiety is based on the most current medical guidelines and patient safety considerations. This policy has been agreed upon by all clinicians at our practice, as part of a local and national drive to improve safety in the prescribing of hypnotic medications (such as zopiclone). We have recently reviewed a number of similar medications, as part of our commitment to the highest standards of care.

There are several reasons why healthcare practitioners at Schopwick Surgery do not prescribe these medicines for flying:

If an emergency were to occur on a flight, being under the influence of this kind of medicine would worsen your ability to react.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also advises against the use of sleeping pills on flights due to the increased risk of DVT when immobile in one’s seat for prolonged periods.

Although zopiclone makes most people who take it sleepy, in some rare situations it can have an opposite effect, and make people aggressive or agitated, which would be dangerous on a plane, and may lead you to suffering legal consequences.

Being able to sleep while flying can make the flight more comfortable and easier, however this isn’t necessarily a medical need and generally shouldn’t prevent ability to fly.

Airlines offer specialised Fear of Flying courses that could provide significant relief:

  • Easy Jet Fearless Flyer program (Tel: 0203 8131644)
  • British Airways Flying with Confidence course (Tel: 01252 793250)
  • Virgin Fear of Flying workshop (Tel: 01423 714900)

These resources, along with additional advice on managing flight anxiety available How to manage a fear of flying and flying anxiety, may offer you long-term benefits and decrease your reliance on medications.