Traveling With Medication Takes Preparation

Christine Potkul
Published Online: Monday, July 9th, 2018

Travel preparation can be a tedious process that requires careful consideration of every item being packed, especially, when medications are needed. Each country has developed their own distinct guidelines regarding the legal status of medications, which makes transporting medicines much more difficult task for those with chronic or serious health conditions.

Many people who travel internationally
 are unsure about what they are permitted to bring with them, and where they can acquire their medication once they reach their destinationIf travelers violate another country’s rules, they may face consequences that could present serious setbacks to their health or impose penalties that could lead to charges for drug trafficking. The CDC is encouraging individuals to be aware of these varying regulations prior to traveling to avoid such consequences. Clinicians can help by counseling patients who are planning vacations or other trips.

When packing, medications should be kept separated from other products, and stored in carry-on luggage, so that medications can be easily located, and accessed. TSA has a specific list of medical supplies that they allow on the plane, so it is important to look at that beforehand. For example, TSA states that diabetes-related supplies, equipment, and medications are allowed through checkpoint after they have been screened or inspected.

The CDC also recommends bringing a small surplus of medicines in case of delays, and to make sure the containers have their original labels. Travelers should have a copy of all prescriptions in their possession
, and leave another copy at home with family or relatives. For controlled substances, such as marijuana, and injectable medicines, a note on letterhead stationary from the prescribing doctor should accompany.  

A travel health medicine specialist or health care provider should be contacted to obtain personalized information. These individuals can have discussions on how to adjust medication schedules when facing time zone changes and the best way to store medicines. Also, be sure to make an appointment, weeks in advance, to get necessary vaccines. 

There is a high likelihood that certain medications will not be accessible for purchase in a different country. And if medicines can be bought at the destination, they may not meet the same United States quality standards. In addition, counterfeit drugs are a major problem amongst many developing countries, according to the CDC. Patients should stay alert, and buy only medicines in original packaging, from a licensed pharmacy.  

What the United States may consider common prescriptions, or available over-the-counter drugs, may be illegal somewhere else. Travelers should be cognizant of the guidelines of medications in the country being visited to prevent issues, and to ease the entire traveling process. They should check with the foreign embassy of that country and utilize the International Narcotics Control Board to verify that medicines are permittable.  

During vacation and travel endeavors, people may neglect their usual medical treatments. It’s important to continue proper management of health issues while in a different country without letting serious health conditions or chronic diseases get in the way of exciting, new experiences abroad 



Traveling Abroad with Medicine. CDC website. Updated July 2, 2018. Accessed July 6, 2018.

Current Issue

The Educated Patient

Jennifer L. Hofmann, MS, PA-C
Providing them with advice can improve control of the disease and reduce hospitalizations, morbidity, and unscheduled health care visits.
Emily C. Hayes, PharmD Candidate
Colds, coughs, and a relentless influx of sick patients in retail health clinics keep the health care providers who work there very busy.
Kristen Marjama, DNP, APRN-BC
Although the rate of foot and leg amputation has greatly declined over the past 2 decades, increasing awareness for macrovascular and microvascular complications of diabetes is essential because diabetes is the leading cause of lower-limb amputations in the United States.
Kristen Marjama, DNP, FNP-BC
Gluten proteins found in barley, rye, and wheat trigger systemic injury primarily to the small intestine, but they can also affect the joints, liver, skin, uterus, and other organs.
$vacMongoViewPlus$ $vAR$
Contemporary Clinic
MJH Associates
American Journal of Managed Care
MD Magazine
Pharmacy Times
Specialty Pharmacy Times
Targeted Oncology
About Us
Contact Us
Terms & Conditions
Pharmacy Healthcare & Communications, LLC
2 Clarke Drive
Suite 100
Cranbury, NJ 08512
P: 609-716-7777
F: 609-257-0701

Copyright Contemporary Clinic 2018
Pharmacy Healthcare & Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.