medication fear of flying

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The use of medication is another tool in the toolbox used to help a person overcome their fear of flying. While typically self-prescribed, some travelers with only a mild fear of flying will often have a drink, or two, or more to ease their nerves during a flight.

While others have discussed treatment options with their primary care physician and have prescriptions for a sedative or anti-anxiety medication. Even if you have a current prescription for a sedative or anti-anxiety medication, consult with your doctor prior to your flight. Some medications can have negative effects that you would not want to have occur during a flight. 

Ambien and Xanax

Two common prescription medications a person may take prior to flying are Zolpidem or Alprazolam, better known as Ambien and Xanax. Ambien is a sedative used to insomnia in adults, while Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorder.

Unless directly instructed by your primary care physician, it is not a good idea to take either of these medications prior to flying. 

In an article published on, Tania Elliot, MD says, “Ambien has been shown to increase people’s chances of sleepwalking, so I would avoid that on the airplane. Xanax would be the one to help quell anxiety, but again, it depends on whether or not the anxiety comes from flying itself or is related to another area. I recommend neither Xanax or Ambien for flying.”

Over the Counter Supplements

For some, anxiety while flying may stem from the lack of sleep, or change in diet while traveling. To address these issues a person may wish to use melatonin as a supplement to aid in their natural sleep cycle or antacids to ease their stomach from all the greasy food. Other methods for improving your quality of sleep may include a sleep mask, travel blanket, and noise cancelling earphones or ear plugs. 

Finding the Root Cause

As already covered, it’s vital to determine the root cause of your fear of flying. Professional help may be needed, but until that root cause is addressed, most medications and supplements will be only a temporary fix at best. 

Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss these options. In the meantime, check out other solutions to aviophobia including, exposure therapy, hypnosis, and even virtual reality.


Written by
Fly Fright Staff, Staff Writer

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