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Bringing Primatene Mist / OTC Meds into Japan?

Bringing Primatene Mist / OTC Meds into Japan?

Nov 3rd, 2009, 11:38 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Bringing Primatene Mist / OTC Meds into Japan?

I've been reading a bit about certain OTC medications being illegal in Japan and was wondering thoughts on bringing Primatene Mist (which I have to take on occasion and would be afraid to be without) into the country? I have tried to find info on Google, but can't find anything specific to this medication.

Also, is it advisable (as I've read elsewhere) to have a doctor's note for prescriptions? Isn't the prescription itself on the bottle enough proof that it was prescribed by the doctor?

My sister is getting over a cold which got me researching bringing OTC meds into the country and now I'm getting a bit paranoid about it. On the other hand it would be awful for her to need something inflight or while there and not be able to have it.

Thoughts? Experiences?
Statia is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:51 PM
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I have brought both OTC and prescription meds into Japan in my checked luggage and never had it questioned. They were in the original or pharmacy containers. It is hard to fine the appropriate OTC stuff in Japan. We ran out of Advil while we were there and my husbands sciatica was killing him. I went into the hotel sundry shop and they had Tylenol and Pepto Bismal and then a bunch of Japanese items. The pantomime I went through with the lady behind the counter was pretty amusing. Each of use taking turns acting out different kinds of pain. We went to the concierge who spoke fluent English and she wrote a note to the pharmacist asking for an anti-inflamatory. We went to the store she recommended but they either didn't carry it or didn't understand. She finally gave us a box of something she said "same" several times. Turns out after he took it all week and felt better it was the equivalant of Midol!!
SeeHag is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 04:33 PM
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I don't think what you describe as being "a bit paranoid" is going to be dispelled by the "I've done it and never had a problem" approach, especially since this stuff is going to be in your carry-on baggage.
The Japanese are very strict about drugs. In general you can bring along 30 days' supply of a medication, so long as it doesn't contain anything they prohibit. Codeine over a certain amount falls in that category, even if it's in an OTC drug. And, yes, the official label on a prescribed bottle of meds should suffice--so long as it's not more than 30 days supply.
For more precise information, check http://tinyurl.com/yh62gdt
My sense is that you're OK, but you should satisfy yourself on that score.
WillJame is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:27 PM
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I've never had them even look at my incoming luggage, much less ask about the drugs in my carryon bag!
lcuy is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 08:03 PM
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You could contact a Japanese embassy or consulate. The following web page has some info:
and you should find contact info there.

Primatene Mist is epinephrine (adrenaline). Doesn't sound like it is one of the illegal drugs. You ought to find out what the dose amount is in case you need to get some in Japan.

The link that WillJame gave did mention epinephrine but as part of a kit with an injector. eh pee neh fu reen(u)?

I had my bag searched when I arrived in Toyama on a flight from Korea. Had a small pill bottle with a couple different things in it. The customs agent was interested in my bottle of Pepto Bismol. I patted my belly and he did the same and nodded ok.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 02:09 AM
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Thanks for all the info. If they don't typically check carry on baggage on arrival then I suppose we will be fine. We are only bringing some thyroid prescribed medication, the Primatene Mist, and maybe some cold and sinus OTC meds. Hopefully we won't have any issue.
Statia is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 06:59 AM
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'Pseudoephedrine (often found in cold and allergy medications) is also banned, so if your medications contain either of those items, don't bring them. Anything else is fine.' I took this quote from the japan-guide.com forum.....fyi....
Mara is online now  
Nov 9th, 2009, 05:22 PM
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My sister is getting over a cold...or at least trying to. So we plan to bring Advil Cold & Sinus which has Pseudoephedrine in it. What is the worst that can happen if they ask us about it?
Statia is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 06:46 PM
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"Q13. Can I bring Pseudoephedrine into Japan with me?
A13. Any medicine containing more than 10 % of Pseudoephedrine is defined as one of Stimulant Raw Materials in Japan and you cannot bring it into Japan."

Statia, I copied the above from the document that WillJame referenced - I am not sure what they mean by more than 10%, but the Advil Cold and Sinus have only 30 mg of pseudoephedrine.....and 200 of ibuprofen....

I'm really sorry I brought this up at all but otoh I guess it's better to know in advance, and I was replying to your query. ;-) If I knew before that a drug is not permitted, I guess I wouldn't bring it - otoh, if I didn't know.....

I also bring a few drugs as I have asthma issues but I don't think they contain any of the banned ingredients. I have never been stopped or asked at Immigration either but that doesn't mean I won't be the next time.

I certainly wish you and your sis an enjoyable trip - I remember when you had to cancel last time.
Mara is online now  

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