Traveling with Prescription Medications


Traveling with prescription medications. How can you avoid travel delays upon arrival to, and departure from, the United States? That’s a question patients often ask their local pharmacist or the FDA. Hi, I’m Captain Mary Kremzner and this is
Drug Info Rounds, brought to you by the pharmacists in FDA’s Division of Drug Information. I asked Lieutenant Lindsay Davison to outline
key points pharmacists should counsel their patients on prior to travel. Let’s start
by reviewing key precautions that travelers with prescription medications should know. The first precaution is that patients should
not assume that prescription medications that are approved in one country are approved in
another. Travelers coming into the U.S. should be aware that their products may be illegal
here. The same applies to travelers leaving for other countries. They should contact the
country they are traveling to for advice. The second is to be aware that the approved
indications for use may not be the same. Just as the medication itself may not be approved
in another country, the approved indication for use may differ as well. The third is to have information with you
about your prescription medications. Travelers should be aware that in the event they require
medical attention, treatment could be delayed or made more difficult without sufficient
information available about the product. This includes the brand and generic name of the
product, the dosage form and strength, and how often it is used. Will you review some of the resources for
travelers with prescription medications? A Travelers Alert is posted on FDA’s website
with useful information. This Alert lists two other agencies that offer advice to travelers:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, also known as CBP, and the Drug Enforcement Administration,
or DEA. CBP offers advice on their website for traveling with prescription medications
and medical devices, such as oxygen tanks. They recommend: • Prescription medications should be in
their original containers with the doctor’s prescription printed on the container.
• Travel with no more than personal use quantities, a rule of thumb is no more than
a 90 day supply. • If your medications or devices are not
in their original containers, you should have a copy of your prescription with you or a
letter from your doctor, • And a valid prescription or doctor’s
note is required for all medications entering the U.S. CBP can be reached by email for medication
questions not answered on their website. DEA enforces regulations for controlled substances
in Schedules II through V, in the Code of Federal Regulations. This is also available
on their website. DEA provides contact information to local Field Offices online. What about the Transportation Security Administration? Great point! The TSA posts information for
travelers who need medication on their website. Questions related to carrying prescription
medications in luggage versus carry-on baggage should also be directed to TSA. This clears up a lot of questions that patients
have for pharmacists about traveling with their prescription medications. If you have
questions, call or email FDA’s Division of Drug Information.