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Drugs and Flying

Old Feb 21st, 2002, 05:29 PM
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Drugs and Flying

Now this is a serious inquiry. I'm flying to Rome in a few months and dread the plane ride. I have some Tylenol with codeine at home (left over from my son's prescription from a few months ago), and I was thinking of taking 2 of these so I sleep most of the way. The problem is I don't want to take them BEFORE going to the airport which will probably be a good 2 to 3 hours before takeoff, but what if during the security check I was caught with them in my pocket or purse? Since they're not my prescription, would I be arrested? Any non-prescription drugs strong enough to make me sleep after dinner for 6 hours?
Old Feb 21st, 2002, 05:47 PM
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Try either Tylenol-PM or Execedrin-PM. If I want to avoid the airline food, I take 2 an hour before I get on the plane. I fall asleep shortly after takeoff.
Old Feb 21st, 2002, 05:59 PM
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I wouldn't recommend codeine before flying. It makes lots of people, including me, sick to their stomach, not exactly what you want on a plane. if you really dread the flight, talk to your doctor, who would probably be willing to prescribe a couple of mild tranquilizers with short half-lives, like Xanax.
Old Feb 21st, 2002, 05:59 PM
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I have taken sleeping pills along and never had a problem. I've just put them in a bottle with my other pills. I really doubt you'll be stopped for having them in your pocket.
Old Feb 21st, 2002, 06:05 PM
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"Not-a-troll," you have a few months to deal with this and I strongly, strongly recommend you get a prescription of some sort from your own doctor. She/he probably won't give you codeine (for pain, which you don't have -- also, you shouldn't be taking someone else's meds and do you know how your body reacts to codeine? it makes some people vomit), but maybe something more classically a "soporific" -- a trank or a sleeper, to use the slang terms. A lot of people use Xanax for anxiety and might be exactly what you need -- makes you sleepy as well as calming you down. But you should have a trial run with the stuff before you actually fly.

Once you get the Rx, make sure you carry it in the original bottle from the pharmacy, with your own name on it.

You might sail through with no questions about your son's Rx, but you also might not and I don't think you want to risk that. It could be a serious no-no, esp. coming back into the US.

You've asked, however, specifically about non-prescription drugs. You'd have to take so many of most of them to actually put you to sleep that it's a little risky, but the antihistamines in the various OTC sleeping aids (Sominex, etc.) might do it for you, and some people guzzle things like Nyquil-- which are basically alcohol with other stuff thrown in (if there's an antihistamine, I wouldn't be surprised). Kind of a kitchen-sink medication and if you swill too much, it could rot your stomach or your brain, but as I said, you have a few months to experiment.

Other people will recommend booze. I don't for long flights - will actually dehydrate you and make jet lag worse if you overindulge, and of course alcohol will interact with other drugs in unpredictable and not usually good ways.
Old Feb 21st, 2002, 06:06 PM
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Prescription medicines, in their original labelled containers, are not an issue. I carry a coupla of everything (coupla codeine cough tablets, coupla Tylenol, coupla aspirin, etc.) in an aspirin bottle, and never had a problem (hundreds of domestic and international flights). Look, Customs isn't out to bust some guy with 2 Tylenol tablets; they're after bigger fish.

After all that, I'd say you won't need the codeine. Big deep breath, relax. If you have made all your plans, have all your reservations confirmed, all your documents in hand, etc., you don't need to be worried, nor fret. Arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight so you aren't panicking about the long lines; check in, go through security, then go sit down at an airport bar and have a drink (wine, beer, soda, tea, whatever). Go to the gate one hour before takeoff, check in again (I know, I know, why should you, but it doesn't hurt) then sit down and read a book or play on your laptop. When you get on the plane (DON'T hover around the boarding area before your row is called; it's stupid and aggravating), be sure you have a pillow and blanket, that you have close at hand anything you might need during the flight, and get comfortable. In your little travel pack, have an eyeshade, earplugs, cough drops, kleenex, and anything pertinent to you (contact lens stuff, sinus medicine, whatever). They'll feed you most likely about 90-120 mins into the flight (beverages much sooner). With your meal, take a PM pill (Tylenol, Excedrin, Bayer all make them) and ask for a cup of hot water for your herbal tea (Sleepytime, chamomile, etc.). Be wearing comfortable clothes (not sweatpants, but a loose skirt or pants, a long sleeved top), put on your eyemask and in your earplugs, and relax. If the flight isn't full, you might get lucky and find an empty middle row - put up the armrests and stretch out. I always carry a small battery operated alarm clock, and I set it for about 1 hour before landing (skip the airplane breakfast) so I have time to get coherent. Have a pen in your travel pack to fill out the landing card. Put the landing card in your passport, organize your stuff, and when the plane lands, don't jump up and stand in the aisles (what is THAT all about?). Sit quietly, double check you've got everything, and deplane. Be ecstatic you are in Rome, not nervous and worried, because you know you've taken care of everything. Have about $100 worth of euros with you so you can get a cup of coffee and a taxi or bus to your hotel with no worries that the ATM at the airport is broken. Don't rush to grab a cab - go to the restroom, get a coffee and pastry, buy an Italian magazine, then get a cab or the bus/train into town. You have a map of Rome with your hotel marked with an X. You've written down the name of your hotel on a piece of paper to show the driver. You have the confirmation of your hotel reservation in your wallet or purse.

You have bliss, and you have Rome.

Old Feb 21st, 2002, 06:19 PM
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The above posts are wonderful. I am a physician and can advise that you do not want T-3's as we call them. The other posters are correct, in that the great majority of people do have nausea and vomiting with it. Most Dr.s perscribe Valium for flights, as it is not only calming, but has anti-nausea properties. Your Dr. should be glad to help by prescribing a few for the outbound flight, and home. Have a great time.
Old Feb 21st, 2002, 07:32 PM
The DA
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I am a state prosecutor. Carrying drugs that are not prescribed to you is a crime. Having said that, you are probably not going to get busted for a couple of Tylenols. Then again, Codeine is a "hot" drug right now.

Bottom line, I would leave them at home.
Old Feb 21st, 2002, 09:09 PM
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Ok, aside from the doctor and the federal marshall you have advising you, now you have a registered nurse here.
Simply, codeine is not very strong a med, will not relax you that much and WILL MAKE YOU CONSTIPATED! Even one dose. Not a great way to start a vacation. You're better off taking benedryl or better yet, get some xanax or valium from you own doctor. have a great trip.
Old Feb 22nd, 2002, 04:10 AM
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Better yet get a great book and read. This is what my wife does and she hates to fly
Old Feb 22nd, 2002, 04:33 AM
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Xanax can be constipating too but will not leave you with the lightheadedness Valium can give you. There are always laxatives.

Non-medical suggestions: Use the in-flight music to drown out the plane sounds; use eyeshades to simulate actual night; get lots of exercise the day before you fly and, if you have time, the morning you fly. If you don't feel like a complete idiot doing so, do some serious stretching exercises before you board the plane.
Old Feb 22nd, 2002, 05:28 AM
Rx pert
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Why not the advice of a pharmacist along with every one else. I agree with both the above doc and nurse that Tyl #3 is not a good idea. People who are nervous about flying tend to drink heavier that usual and that's a no no with Acetaminophen (liver tox problems). Stay away from Tyl#3, Excedrin PM and Tylenol PM. Go to your Doc and get the Valium or Xanax and take it while your in line checking in (about 1- 1 1/2 hours pre flight. Also if you need take one the night before you leave and get a restfull night's sleep with less anxiety. If you do go over the counter just plain benadryl 25mg. (you'll probably be less drowsy on arrival with Valium than Benadryl)
Old Feb 22nd, 2002, 05:46 AM
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To The Doc, Nurse, DA, and Pharmacist:

Thanks so much for the expert advice! I guess that settles the debates!
Old Feb 23rd, 2002, 06:19 AM
sky goddess
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Dear Notatroll-my two cents would like to be added! You do not want to be heavily sedated that in the event of an emergency you could not react properly.This includes things like booze,relaxants,sleping pills,etc. Besides mechanical emergencies, you only want to be in a light sleep for other things like........terrorism?Focus on what you are going to see over there,involve yourself in the movie,read, get your mind off the anxiety. Have a wonderful trip!
Old Feb 23rd, 2002, 07:01 AM
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Valium, Xanax, etc are OK....but I find that mainlining heroin really does the trick. You may be a bit groggy when you come to, but atleeast the flight went by in a blurr......
Old Feb 23rd, 2002, 08:22 AM
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Loved your advice. I am dreading our flight to Rome (1st time). I am one of those people that has to have at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night or I'm a wreck.
Is it possible to get this much sleep flying overseas? My dr. has prescribed a sleep medication for me. Thanks for any input.
Old Feb 23rd, 2002, 08:42 AM
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I'm not a doctor, but I play one on tv...

I've tried 'em all (hate to fly, makes me panic) and I cast a SOLID vote for Valium (the generic, diazepam, is dirt cheap). I like small, 5mg doses as it's easy to control, 1 to relax, 2 or 3 to relax enough to naturally sleep. NO hangover (like some have from Xanax), no constipation problems... no dopiness (like that drated afore-mentioned heroin). I also have several friends who swear that one 5mg pill is the ultimate cure for jet lag, it is not enough to make you groggy or sleepy but it takes away the edge.

My doctor took my advice last trip and perscribed Valium for his wife...both contend it should be required issue to everyone but the pilots before bording a plane...particularly for some of the grouchy flight attendents I've met on American...
Old Feb 23rd, 2002, 08:53 AM
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This is what I do: two Benadryl just before I board the plan, and two glasses of wine after boarding. Works like a charm.
Old Feb 23rd, 2002, 11:26 AM
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I'm also an MD, so I have to put in my two cents on this subject.

I spent years hating to fly but loving to travel. I tried everything & nothing really worked until I tried Ativan, which I now swear by.

Ativan is a prescription med, so talk to your doctor first (about possible drug interactions, side effects, etc.) and get her/his advice. Especially post 9/11, I'm sure there are many, many people terrified of flying.

One last thing, please don't mix any of these meds with alcohol....I've seen this myself on quite a few flights (people mixing tranquilizers and alcohol). Truly terrifying.

Old Feb 23rd, 2002, 11:44 AM
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I am NOT a doctor, but I know alot of them. LOL
Listen, do everything elvira said and then if you are REALLY still panicked (in advance) have your doctor write you an RX for the miracle drug "Ambien". Take 1/2 of one. Disclaimer: Check with your doctor if you are taking any other prescription meds or over-the-counter remedies.
Relax...bring some music to listen to,a great book and some eye shades. You'll do great.

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