Prescription Medicines - Italy

Apr 11th, 2014, 04:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 15
Prescription Medicines - Italy

Do I need to have a letter from my doctor when taking prescription medicines with me on my trip to Italy? Or can I take the medications in the prescription bottles? I've read both and I'm confused as what is true. Any help with this topic would be very helpful. Thanks!
GrandmaNae is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 04:09 PM
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You can just take the prescription bottles. No need for a letter from your doctor. My husband has to take ten different kinds of prescription medicines. This time I actually got copies of the labels from my pharmacist and then put enough pills into his weekly little plastic pill containers. The only medicine that both US and Italian security questioned was a bottle of liquid medicine. They stopped us, looked it up and then let us go through.

We have been going to Italy for 15 years, but this was the first time we needed to take that much medicine with us.
Saraho is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 04:09 PM
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No one cares what medications you are taking in small quantities for your own use - unless they are heavy duty controlled substances. Just pack them in your carry-on - no need for letter from your MD - they have all the same meds in europe.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 04:38 PM
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You can take the bottles, but it is a good idea for you to keep a week's worth of your meds right in your purse or pocket while you are in transit in case you get separated from your purse or bag.

It is also good to have written down the Italian names for your meds or the essential ingredient plus the dosage. You can find this information online. Again, this is just in case you lose your meds or your return to the US is delayed for some reason then you will be sure to be able to get what you need. Italian pharmacists are able to replace essential medicines without a prescription.
sandralist is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 04:47 PM
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I don't think it could hurt to take a print out from your pharmacy of all your meds and dosages, but I take as many as your husband, and just put them in my pill minder. I don't print out anything, but I do take an extra day after being stranded in Manchester UK airport a couple of years ago.

But as said above, no one cares about your meds.

I do think about a print out every time I pack my very complicated meds, but I have never bothered actually getting one. Maybe next time.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 04:53 PM
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A print out is a good idea but it is also a good idea to e-mail yourself the basic info. That is a permanent record you can access anywhere in the world.

All this is an excess of caution but it is great for peace of mind and of course a real help if you ever need it.
sandralist is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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Oh -- and e-mail a copy to your travel companion, or your nearest and dearest staying at home.

My mother set me up with that info and I am glad she did. I'd hate to be contacted because my mother fainted somewhere and have somebody ask me: "Does your mother take any medications?" and not know the answer.
sandralist is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 07:39 PM
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Thanks for the posts everyone! Good to know how you handle traveling with prescription meds.
GrandmaNae is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 07:53 PM
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And do be sure to pack them into your carry on, not your checked luggage. Just in case the worst happens and your checked luggage goes missing.
cathies is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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Unless the meds are opiates or controlled substances you don't need scrip, or original containers or even labels. Now, if they ARE controlled substances - then yes.

It is a good idea to have the info/description printed out just in case you lose the meds and need to go to a doctor.

Almost certainly no one will look at them in customs - but if they do, the agents will know what the meds are.
janisj is offline  
Apr 11th, 2014, 09:40 PM
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All these replies seem to assume you don't have a technology that's now virtually ubiquitous in the UK. I can't imagine that's true, and it's worth remembering there's a much easier solution these days.

When I foolishly packed all my medicine in luggage that failed to arrive, the pharmacy in Venice wanted - quite sensibly - to know the strength as well as the name in the pharmacopoeia (most decent pharmacists in Italy - ie all - know how the name in most visitor-generating countries translates into the name used in Italy).

For a few seconds, I was about to trek back to the hotel to power up the laptop. Then remembered this was 2013. So whip out the smartphone, go to my doctor's prescription management system and show the nice lady the result.

From dismal experience, I know that confusing the strength on just one medicine can make a holiday really miserable. As long as you can get onto the web (and with smartphones and laptops, there really is next to nowhere that's a real problem any more), that really ought to be a thing of the past.

Of course it helps if you switch your brain on while packing and ALWAYS keep medicines in your handbaggage...

But I bet I'll forget again some time.
flanneruk is offline  
Apr 12th, 2014, 01:08 AM
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What is the use of all these technologies if you can't read? Switch on your eyes.

Contrary to your assertion, posts previous to yours had already suggested e-mailing the information, including dosage, to oneself and to relatives.

Also, I think people should keep a few doses of their meds in a pocket on their actual person while in transit between cities, not just in bags from which they could get separated.
sandralist is offline  
Apr 12th, 2014, 02:03 AM
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In Italy, when you get a prescription, the pharmacist doesn't give it to you in a container with your name and the dosage prescribed. He gives it to you in the package as it comes from the drug company. So no Italian customs agent would be looking for your name on the package, as that's something he'd never expect to see.

Here's a prescription medicine story that really opened my eyes to the public health problems in the US. A few months ago, I had to make an emergency trip to the US to help a family member. I bought the air ticket on a Saturday night, and left very early on a Sunday morning. I realized I didn't have enough of a heart medicine I need to take to last me for two weeks, so I called a doctor friend in the US and asked her to phone in a prescription to a pharmacy near where I was staying.

As it turned out, I missed the connection in Rome, so I went to a pharmacy in the airport and got an emergency supply, enough for one week, for 8 euros. This was the full cost; I get it free under our national health system, but they can't give it to you under the system when you don't have a doctor's prescription.

When I got to the US, I decided to also pick up the prescription called in for me by my friend. They hadn't ordered it yet and didn't have it on hand, but they told me they could only give me double the amount I needed. I asked what the cost would be, and they told me $400!!!! That was with a discount code my friend had provided me with. So in the US, you pay $200 for the same amount of a medicine that costs €8 in Italy. Naturally, I told them not to bother ordering it. With the emergency supply I had bought in Rome, I had just enough to last me until I got home.

I live in fear of needing to return to the US some day in my old age.
bvlenci is offline  

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