Travelling with a medical condition can bring with it a wealth of complications, from getting travel insurance down to what your fellow travellers should do in case of an emergency. In today’s blog we are going to be focusing on medication, highlighting the best way to take prescription medications through customs.
Although, if you have a medical condition and you are looking to get affordable travel insurance, we can help with that too because our insurance policies are tailored to meet your needs – just visit worldwideinsure.com.
What you should know
Are there any restrictions on the medication you take in the country you plan to visit? If the meds you take are restricted in the country you want to visit, you may have problems taking medication across the border. Ask your doctor for information, or check the relevant embassy websites for details. Another great resource is www.incb.org/incb/index.html
Narcotics and psychotropics are the main medications that are of issue. Morphine and Codeine are common medications in the narcotics class, whereas psychotropics are used to treat a range of illnesses from anxiety and depression to psychotic conditions. Some counties also have issues with the types of drugs used to treat epilepsy and Parkinson’s and even antihistamines that cause drowsiness! What these medications all have in common is their potential to affect the Central Nervous System – but don’t let that stop you checking that your medication is OK to take across a border. The UAE for example consider some non-CNS meds such as contraceptive hormones a breach.
How do you adjust to time zones? Ask your doctor for advice about taking your prescription at the correct time when travelling abroad. If you are just going on a European trip, it may not be an issue, but long haul travel could disrupt your usual routine.
Carry your medication in the original packaging. Many people will say that medication does not need to be in the original container, and that they have taken their tablets through customs with no problems at all. In fact, it is required that meds are in their original packaging, and these people have been lucky. Our advice? Why take the risk? Your medication is vital to your health; take it in the original packing to avoid risk of confiscation. This is especially important if you also need to take hypodermic needles with you. These must be kept with the medication they are for.
Make sure you keep your medication at the right temperature. Some meds need to be stored at a specific temperature. Consider an insulated pouch or flask for transportation.
Did you know? Prescription medicines are exempt from the usual aeroplane restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels. This exemption also incudes cool packs and storage containers to keep the meds at the right temperature on board.
Only pack what you need, with a few extra. Taking more tablets than you need for the duration of your stay has the potential to cause issues, and many countries impose a 30-day limit on taking pills and potions across the border. Take enough for your holiday, and a few extra in case some get lost.
Take a copy of your prescription or a copy of a doctor’s letter. If you run into trouble at customs, having a doctor’s letter or copy of your prescription is a great backup to prove that your tablets are for you and they are what you say they are! To be totally safe, keep any paperwork you have with your medicine.
Always keep your medication in your carry-on. Having it on you ensures that it won’t go missing even if your luggage does!
Do you know the generic name for your medication? If you run out of medication, or it gets lost or stolen the local doctors and pharmacists may not be familiar with the brand name you know. Make sure you write down the generic name of the drugs you take and this will be easier for overseas medical professionals to recognise.
We hope that this advice has been useful, but remember – your doctor is the best person to ask about taking your prescription medications abroad. We wish you a wonderful trip, wherever you are going, and don’t forget, if you still haven’t sorted your travel insurance, we do great deals for people travelling with an existing medical condition. Just give us a call on 01892 628583 for a quote!