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Filling an insulin prescription in Europe

Filling an insulin prescription in Europe

Nov 9th, 2011, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 106
Filling an insulin prescription in Europe

I'm insulin-dependent. I buy insulin at home in the US in vials of 100 units, with a prescription. They must be kept refrigerated till I start using an individual vial. Insulin has a "shelf-life" of 28 days after it reaches room temp. So once I take a vial out of the fridge, I must discard it within 28 days whether it's empty or not.

I am considering a trip to Europe. So unless I could get a prescrip filled in Europe while I'm there, I could only take 28 days of insulin with me and I'd need to be back home in 28 days or sooner.

I've filled a prescrip in Canada by finding a walk-in clinic that'd take a US citizen and the Dr wrote me a prescrip a Canadian pharmacy would fill, using my written US prescrip, of course, which I had with me

So my question now is: is it reasonable to expect that I might find places like that in Europe that would also write a prescrip, using my USA one, that a local pharm would fill? If so, it would mean I could plan a longer trip than 28 days, which I would REALLY like to do!

Just asking...
tomseeley is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 663
We lost my wife's insulin in Florence but didn't recognize it until we got to Siena. We went into a pharmacia and told them what we needed. This of course has to be exact as to type and dosage. We had it in a half an hour along with a free supply of needles. No prescription needed. I suspect it would be the same in most European countries. Not sure though. Why not bring an extra copy of the prescription.
RJD is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 12:25 PM
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I think the question is not that they would expect to get insulin with no prescription, but will some local walk-in medical facility of some kind (clinic, whatever) write a local prescription based on looking at the US one, on the spot. Or will the pharmacy even do that (rewrite a prescription) or just fill the US one.
Christina is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 12:29 PM
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BTW, I was wondering, is it impossible to carry insulin with some kind of ice pack in a cooler or other method that will fulfill the refrigeration requirement? I know things could go wrong, but just wondered. Because I know I've read from other people who are concerned about getting refrigerators in their hotel room and obviously, if it didn't matter once it were first taken out and they have 28 days, they wouldn't be asking that.
Christina is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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You can get it filled with a letter of medical need scrip
from your doctor usually in big cites.

www.diabetes.com good travel info other options here

Thermos can keep your insulin at a safe temperature. Fill the container with cold ... American Diabetes Association
clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/21/2/86.fullFRIO Diabetic Insulin Cooling Cases Buy From Our Authorized US ...

Choose hotel with minbars that have fidges cheap in cities

www.betterbidding.com my fav

Have fun!
qwovadis is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,498
I've bought several of my glaucoma meds (prescription eye drops) simply by asking for them in pharmacies in France. I read here that the cost was often lower than the deductible I'd pay at home and, indeed, it was.
Only one pharmacy refused me.....I think pharmacists, at least in France, have some autonomy in selling prescription meds. My meds, like insulin, are not often abused drugs.
Judy is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 341

I've used a little Frio bag for years and can recommend it. It is a simple and wonderful piece of kit for any type1 diabetic travelling to hot (or very cold) areas where the temperature is above or below the recommended level for carrying or storing insulin.

joe4212 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2011, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 466
I take Celebrix and went to Europe this summer for 46 days. I could not fill a prescription for that length of travel in US. So, I had my Dr. write me a prescription for Celebrix, and when I ran out, I walked into the local Pharmacy in Paris, handed him my prescription and in 5 minutes, it was 32 Euro please. It was cheaper than my deductible in the US.

Take a prescription, written by your Dr. and you will have no problems.
jkbritt is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522

I assume you realize that the US uses different measurement standards for insulin than the rest of the world so that must be taken into account for correct dosages...
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 05:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 106
Hey thanks to all for your good replies. Esp the one about adjusting dosage for European vs American customs. I hadn't thought about that one.

It appears that it's possible to get a prescrip filled easier in E than in USA! Go figure!

As for keeping insulin cold, I doubt any coldpack would stay cold 24/7 for up to a full month! A day or so, btwn home and a fridge in a hotel room as soon as I get off the plane, probably, but not the duration I'm considering. So thanks again for the good advice!
tomseeley is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 06:03 AM
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Be sure to talk to your doctor about dosages before you leave.

Along the same line, you'll find blood test meters read differently as well so take an ample supply of test strips.
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 341

That's the benefit of the Frio bag. It keep insulin at the proper chilled temperature and every 5 or 6 days you simply recharge it with cold water. That water is absorbed by gel (held in a layer between the outer surface of the little bag and the insulin). That gel then cools to the cold water temperature for a further four or five days. It's terrific.

The Frio was originally specifically made for folks on insulin traveling to hot and very hot climates and who could get access to cold water from a tap or chill cabinet. I usually just buy a bottle from any local store.
joe4212 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2011, 05:59 AM
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I just read your msg about the Frio! What a wonderful product!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My problems are solved. Now if I could only cure my diabetes!

tomseeley is offline  
Nov 28th, 2011, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 341
Hi Tom

I am delighted the Frio will be good for you. It really is a superb piece of kit and whenever travelling to warm/hot countries it has never let me down. What makes it so good is that it only needs cold water and each 'fill' lasts about 5 days. When you feel the crystals through the material you simply buy some more cold water!

BTW it was another regular and long-time contributor here, billbarr, who tipped me off about the Frio. It's a British product now available in the USA and he has used one for years during his travels to Greece. He did me a huge favor when he wrote me about it just before a trip to Spain when I was worried about the hot temperatures and how it would affect my insulin as we toured around.

>Now if I could only cure my diabetes!<

Me too, almost 40 years now. I only just getting used to it!!!

joe4212 is offline  

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