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Medication safety and international travel?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Chronic Pain
First a Hello to you all. I am a newbie here, but no stranger to pain. While I hate that we all have to be here, I am glad to have stumbled onto this site while researching my treatments!

I have pain relating to two separate injuries to my spine and tailbone. Both the injuries are quite old, and I have been in pain for a looong time, but just recently started my journey with a PM doc. I wish I had not wasted so much of my life dealing with this on my own. I realize that pain management and the medications are a catch-22, but I try to focus on what it has allowed me to do and how much it has improved my life instead of being depressed about the needed medications, their risks, and the still high level of pain.

One of the things that I probably wouldn't have attempted without the relief of medication is travel. I am scheduled to go to the Dominican Republic in November for a long weekend.

My concerns, besides the added pain and stress, are about travel with my medications. I know I will have to have them on my person during the flight as I can't risk the loss of my bags (don't even want to THINK about losing my meds!!) But other than that, does anyone have tips for keeping them safe and not having issues getting them in/out of the country and hotel room safety?

I would rather only take the amount needed for the duration rather than my whole bottles, but will I have problem in customs just taking them through unlabeled in a med sorter?

I would be most grateful for any hints/tips/tricks that anyone has to offer.


  • hi!! :H i see this is your first post and i want to welcome you to the forum. we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am happy to say i have not flown for many years and cannot help you there. i do think the intro of meds will make your trip much more comfortable and safe.. i think Ron probably had the right idea about carrying them on labeled!!! good luck and have a safe and happy trip! Jenny :)
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    I've traveled to Europe a couple of times with a number of different medications, my tens unit, my thurocane and never had a problem.
    I do keep those items on board so they basically never my sight. Different countries have different ways in handling baggage check when it comes to medications.

    France- Very strict, make sure that each pill is in the container which has the Pharmacy name and doctors name on it. When they find something that does not have all of that, you will WAIT
    Screening unit set off. It was some of the screws, they have a really different security level and sensitivity level on their machines.

    Italy - No problem, never looked at any of the medication bottles.
    No problem with Titanium plate and screws
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I place enough meds for the trip in the original bottles. Plus a few extras in case one goes down a sink drain etc; The remainder of the meds I place in the gun safe at home.

    Now, if we had gotten robbed that would make a good combo, guns and drugs....

    The pill sorter will probably cause delays,if noticed, even if you have the meds in bottles along to. They may drag you off to the side and match everything up. I always try to have every contingency I can think of covered.
    I have me medtronic card in hand and the electronics ready to display. I find it makes the whole process go smoother.
  • I have done A LOT of international travel with a plethora of pain medications, narcotic and non-narcotic. What I did was went to the TSA website and there, they have all the strict guidelines for traveling with medications and medical devices. Here's the link http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1059.shtm it
  • Thank you all. I didn't even think about needing to take a few extra just in case of a flight delay or other unforeseen circumstance.

    Another friend told me that the pharmacy will give me an extra empty med bottle with the prescription label to use for the amount that I want to take, allowing me to leave the majority of my medication here. I know I could just put it in an old bottle, but I feel more secure knowing they are labeled and dated correctly, even when I am not at home.
  • You have had some excellent advice here. However my experience of travelling with medication has been somewhat varied.

    I think that it depends where you go. I have been to places like Bermuda where they are extremely strict. All meds there have to be in their proper containers and be accompanied by the pharmacy description of each drug which has to have the travellers name on the pharmacy description. It seems to vary across the world and I am about to experience this very problem as I am off to The UK for family health reasons for an indeterminate period of time. I have packed a ten week supply of pills in day to day pill containers and I have a further 6 month supply of my principle drugs in the pharmacy containers accompanied by the relevant paperwork. Now this is going to be a very interesting situation if I get stopped going in to the UK. I am going to look like a drug dealer to them with all these pills. The fact is that my return ticket is dated early 2010 so I am hoping that this will help them understand in the event that it may be necessary.

    Anyway, I always carry my medication in my carry on bag and I NEVER pack any of that stuff in my checked luggage. I have lost checked luggage too many times and it is very difficult to get replacement drugs in another country.

    Just for the record, when I post again after September 23/24, I will let you know where I am posting from in case something went wrong with my plans! (Excuse my sense of humor!)

    Finally, never let your carry on bag out of your sight and if you go to the bathroom take your drugs with you just in case.

    Take care

    John B
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