Zambia and Benadryl

Mar 15th, 2009, 05:47 AM
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Zambia and Benadryl

Have any of you entered Zambia this past year with Benadryl??

I have read that US citizens have been detained because it contains
a substance that is banned in Zambia unless it is a prescription
written by a doctor.

landlcochran is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Hi Linda-

You may have seen this note from the US State Department (


NOTE: Recently, the Zambian Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has detained a number of Americans for possession of Benadryl and other over-the-counter medications which have contained small quantities of diphenhydramine, an active ingredient that is on Zambia’s list of controlled substances. Although unaware of these restrictions, Americans have been charged with drug trafficking offenses, had their passports confiscated, and been jailed. As a result, any American visiting Zambia should consider leaving all non-prescription medications behind. When traveling with prescription medications, Americans should bring a doctor’s prescription and ensure that the medication is in its original bottle. Any American stopped by the DEC for possession of over-the-counter medications should contact the Embassy at 0211-250-955 as soon as possible.

I'd just follow their advice.

Best of luck-

sdb2 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 06:06 AM
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Sorry, the correct link is:
sdb2 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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Jailed!? Wow! I had not seen that warning. Glad I didn't run into any problems last Aug.
atravelynn is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Good Lord!!! Benadryl in over-the-counter box? Jailed for having it?!?!?! And I thought the USA was berserk on stuff like this!
Another reason not to go back to Zambia!!

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 02:21 PM
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I'm rarely surprised what's okay and OTC in one country and a serious drug offense in another. But it would be nice if each country would list what is criminal with possible prison and what is not!

Wonder though, how many travelers anywhere have been asked about the meds, OTC or requiring scripts, have been stopped by customs
sandi is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 03:13 PM
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Sandi: Thus the reason for my posting. I did a search and found in another forum where someone was searched on a boat entering from one country into Zambia. He offered to pay the fine immediately and it was about $100; but they took him to the police office and then raised it some.....he did make it back to the boat in time.

My DH has always carried benadryl in his pocket in case of an insect sting. Looks like we may have to get the prescription for the epi-stick.
landlcochran is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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This is amazing, so glad you posted. I routinely ignore the advice to carry meds in their original bottles because I have a handy pill carrier that has little pouches for each day's pills. In all the countries I've visited, including African ones, not one customs agent has ever even glanced at pills. I'm wondering if this is really a shakedown tactic, as forum poster above cited by you.
LAleslie is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 05:55 PM
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A little help needed here.

I take phenobarbital- considered a controlled substance in the US. I know to bring the medicine in its original pharmacy container. I checked out the website listed above, but did ot see anything about needing a prescription from my doctor for this. Do I need one??

amycyma is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 05:59 PM
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what about Advils/Tylenol or similar?
HariS is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 07:58 PM
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Wow! Anyone who suffers from anaphylaxis (a severe, life-threatening allergy) carries Benadryl with them at all times (in addition to the epipens). My daughter is anaphylactic to peanuts and she always has a doctor's note for the epipens, so that she can take them on board an airplane in her carry-on. Never gave the Benadryl a second thought and we were in Zambia this past August. Yikes! Thanks for the head's up!!
canadian_robin is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 03:28 AM
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amycyma, I think that the logic is anything that you need a prescription for in the States, you can take in as long as it is in the original pharmacy container.
Benadryl is the surprise because it contains diphenhydramine; but can be purchased over the counter and so many people travel with it. I presume advils and tylenol don't contain this antihistamine
Robin - I guess you are saying that you had benadryl with you last August and never had a problem.
Have other experienced this?
landlcochran is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 05:07 AM
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And by the way, many other over the counter medicines in the US contain the same ingredient in Benadryl -- almost everything that says 'night time' or PM. It's kind of ironic, because the substance is added to the pills for its side effect (drowsiness) rather than for it's main function (antihystamine).
ann_nyc is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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And another thing-
I can understand being stopped for bringing in 10 Kg of pills. But a couple dozen pills??? Be reasonable about it.

BTW, Tylenol does not have diphenhydramine but Tylenol PM does.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 05:29 PM
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does this occur in johannesburg? and capetown?
nicolino is offline  
Apr 4th, 2009, 09:46 PM
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Joberg and Capetown are South Africa- not Zambia- so no, not at either one!
suzic is offline  
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