Travel Tips: Prescription medicine

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Avoid a travel nightmare

When drawing up your packing list for an upcoming trip, one of the first line items should always be your medication.  Getting that part wrong could lead to, at best, a small travel headache that you don’t need on your vacation or business trip, or, at worst, a medical emergency.

Here are five tips for traveling with prescription medication.

Bring more than you think you need, when possible.

If you forget to bring enough socks and underwear, that’s an easy fix on the road, as long as you’re not in a remote destination. Finding a pharmacy that can fill your prescription is a much taller order, anywhere, and can even be impossible.

One recent example: a Redpoint client had used her last epi-pen on her trip to India, and needed more. Epi-pens are not readily available in most parts of India. Locating a new supply took a few days – an emergency that can be mitigated in the future by having an ample supply in your travel bags.

Keep them in your carry-on baggage.

As we all know, checked luggage regularly gets lost on airlines. Again, when it’s clothing that’s missing, it’s a nuisance that can be fixed by buying new ones, while replacement medication is much trickier.

Because airport security limits liquid containers to 3.4 ounces – or one quart-sized clear zip-top bag – it is always helpful to have your medication in tablet or capsule form when available, if you know you’ll be traveling in the near future.

Check to see if your medication is legal in your destination.

Classifications and regulations of pharmaceuticals, of course, vary between countries.

Some fairly common medications in the United States, especially amphetamines for the treatment of attention deficit disorder, are illegal in many countries, most notably Japan. (You can find a full list on the Center for Disease Control website here.) There have been a number of stories over the past few years of travelers in Japan who were arrested and jailed for carrying Adderall or receiving refills in the mail from family members.

It is always wise, no matter where you are traveling with these kinds of drugs, to keep your medications in the original prescription container. While ADD and ADHD prescription drugs like Adderall are in fact legal in Europe, for example, they are as closely controlled there as they are in the United States. For this and other reasons, it is important to retain copies of scripts or any other documentation you have about your prescription with you, and with a traveling friend or family member.

Cavalry combines the best medevac insurance with travel insurance benefits such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost baggage, primary medical expense coverages, and more. Cavalry is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel risk security company owned and operated by special operations veterans and physicians.

Redpoint covers almost 10 million people worldwide and has evacuated clients from all seven continents.