Take medication internationally

Old Jul 27th, 2019, 06:55 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Take medication internationally

My partner and I are going to Spain in December. I have a few prescriptions that I will be fine taking with me since they are not in big bottles. My partner on the other hand has 4 that are in huge 90 supply bottles. Obviously, taking 4 giant bottles will take a up space. Does she absolutely have to take it in the huge bottles?
heathersmith9456 is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2019, 07:34 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We never take our prescriptions in their original bottles. We take just enough for the trip with a few extra. I always print out my list of prescriptions from our prescription website as backup in case there is an issue. I know some people swear by only bringing their prescriptions in the original containers but we have never had an issue. I would think you would draw more attention with huge bottles of pills as opposed to a couple week supply.
michele_d is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2019, 07:39 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 11,770
Received 26 Likes on 4 Posts
Though no one at any of the dozens of borders I've crossed has paid the least attention to my prescriptions, I do continue to carry them in the original containers. I suggest you go to your pharmacy, explain & ask for small bottles with copies of the labels. I cannot imagine that they'll turn you down.
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Jul 27th, 2019, 07:45 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 70,631
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>> Does she absolutely have to take it in the huge bottles?<<

No! I have no idea why so many people think they have to lug honking huge pill bottles . . .

I only ever use teensy plastic ziploks like these
https://www.amazon.com/Resealable-Mini-Zipper-Polly-Clear/dp/B07JVHW2J4/ref=asc_df_B07JVHW2J4/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312159917955&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=695667537923373660&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032435&hvtargid=pla-573520724799&psc=1 https://www.amazon.com/Resealable-Mini-Zipper-Polly-Clear/dp/B07JVHW2J4/ref=asc_df_B07JVHW2J4/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312159917955&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=695667537923373660&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032435&hvtargid=pla-573520724799&psc=1

One for each med -- I even use them for OTC things like advil. Use a fine point sharpie to lbel them

But if she want to the same little weekly pill organizer she probably uses at home will be fine.
janisj is online now  
Old Jul 27th, 2019, 07:59 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,252
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, not at all. You have multiple options, depending on the length of your trip and the type of medication, including:
  1. If she gets the 90 day supply fills via mail pharmacy, ask the prescriber to write for a one time fill of a smaller quantity that you get filled at a local retail pharmacy. This may not be covered by insurance, or you might be able to call the insurance company and ask for a "one time vacation fill" authorization. You can also ask the pharmacist what the cost would be if you just pay cash and don't use your insurance - some generics are quite inexpensive
  2. You can buy little ziplock bags and prepare the meds you'll need while traveling (good idea to take an extra day or two just in case.) I bought
    these these
    on Amazon and they worked well - one pouch for each morning and one for each evening, marked AM and PM. Suggest that you also make and take a little card to check off when you have taken each dose as it is easy to forget when away from the usual routine and cues.
  3. Another item on Amazon is
    this organizer this organizer
    that looks pretty neat - I just ordered one for an upcoming trip.
  4. You can get four bigger pill pouches and in each put the quantity of the medications you will need (plus the just in case extra doses.) Not as easy as the individual pouches but it will work. You can also ask a local pharmacy to sell you (they may well just give them to you) four smaller pill bottles. Be sure to label each pouch/bottle with what it contains - drug name, strength and how it is to be taken and the name and number of the prescriber. Example: "Aspirin 81 mg take one at bedtime. Dr. M Jones (123) 456-7890"
When carrying a small quantity of meds for personal use you are unlikely to be questioned, but better safe than sorry. In years of traveling I have been questioned only once or twice. Good idea to get from your provider and carry with you a written prescription for each of the medications, or at least a printout from your pharmacy.. This is especially true if any of the meds are controlled substances, such as many pain pills. (So many providers now do only electronic prescribing it may take them a bit to find an old fashioned prescription pad!)

Last edited by Seamus; Jul 27th, 2019 at 08:14 PM.
Seamus is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2019, 08:50 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,969
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I use sturdy zip lock bags and remove pill box labels from the bottles I just finished and tack them onto the zip lock bags. Voila, I have medicine in labeled containers. I do this not because of the inspection that I have never experienced, but if I need to refill medicine, the pharmacists want to make sure the names of the medicine and the dosage for your protection. I had to do this when I was in Italy and Eyjafjallajökull blew up and stopped much of the European air traffic. I realized I did not bring extra prescriptions, so I went to a pharmacy in Italy to get it refilled by showing the label. That was when I realized the non-insurance covered full walk-in cost of buying my prescription medicine in Italy was much cheaper than my insurance copay at home.
greg is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2019, 09:26 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Before I relied on the option to get a „refill“ at a pharmacy in Spain, I would wait for information from a local that this procedure is possible in Spain.
The US system of getting refills on prescription drugs is not common across Europe. Some jurisdictions may give pharmacists the authority to decide this like PP‘s experience in Italy, other countries require the pharmacists to see a (local) doctor‘s prescription for any rx-only drug from you.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2019, 03:18 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,608
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know where people get this idea from that taking bottles is what you have to do when you travel. And this whole idea that something in a bottle with a label on it is all it takes to get past customs. Following that logic, any drug dealer would just put illegal drugs in a bottle with a prescription label on it and the customs people would be too stupid to ever think of the fact that you could put anything in that bottle.

I have 3 daily medications and don't ever travel for more than 14 days. Two of those are very small pills and fit in a small metal pillbox I keep in my purse, which is divided into 3 sections (a souvenir, you can buy these all over. The other pill is a little larger and I can fit several of those in the same box, and the rest I carry in a very small plastic ziplock sack (ones that are about 1 inch by 2 inches). Both just fit into the small zipper pocket in my handbag. First, no one has ever rifled through my purse to begin with or looked into every small thing in it (that pillbox is smaller than even a small coin purse) in any foreign country upon arrival. The only time anyone has even searched my suitcase has been a couple times in Mexico, for some reason, they do that upon arrival randomly. I don't know what they are looking for but it doesn't take that long given they do it for so many people, so just something obvious like weapons or something, I suppose. And yes, TSA agents have opened my suitcase a few times, I think because a book or something shows up on the Xray.
Christina is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2019, 04:02 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,667
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I travel all the time and I don't even think about it. I have a very worn "official" or semi-official form of some sort that references the prescriptions that I keep in my toilet bag - basically has the doctor's name/info and prescription names. Never, ever needed it. I've traveled with both the original bottles and various other containers. Never made any effort to buy special containers, get smaller volume prescriptions when traveling. Never.

I don't use any "controlled substance" type medications so perhaps that's when you should think about it more. Can't comment on that but in all my travels over many years, nobody has even bothered to see if any of my meds were of a certain type. Never. And I do travel sometimes to places that are very strict with drugs.
walkinaround is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2019, 04:05 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,305
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
A few pieces of advice:

The cheapest method of getting an extra supply of a medication in the US without insurance is via GoodRx, where you enter the name of the drug, see a list of local pharmacies with the special GoodRx price at each, choose, and print a coupon. The price can even be lower than your insurance copay.

The pills you take with you will be in a purse or a piece of baggage. If anything happens to the carrier, loss, theft, or delay in transit, you will have no pills. I always recommend taking two complete supplies, each carried in a different carrier. If nothing happens, use the extras when you get home. Why spend half a day replacing lost drugs?

Having a medication list with brand and generic names as well as dosage and directions will save a lot of time if you unfortunately have a medical emergency abroad.

Every country (and US state, for that matter) has different special rules about controlled substances. Check out the rules before you go, if such medications are important for you.

Your medication should not be the focus of your trip. Plan now and it won't.
AJPeabody is online now  
Old Jul 28th, 2019, 04:29 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,377
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Dear Heather--
First of all, good for you for checking! That shows you have a head on your shoulders, and that you are thinking about weight and bulk plus legalities.

I have always had to take prescriptions with me for international travel, and when we were going overseas in 1998, most of my scripts were not 90-day things. So the original containers worked well for me then. Later on, my NON-prescription meds started taking over my luggage, and I started thinking I looked like a drug trafficker. Nevertheless, no one has EVER questioned what I was bringing in or out. That does not mean that it can't happen. With that in mind...

Michele_d's quick and cogent advice is pretty clear. Your partner should just print out her med list from her doc etc. Everything is online anyway. And then take the dosage you need for the trip plus 2 or 3 day's extra. If you can peel off labels and put them onto some plastic sleeve, great. The important part is to make sure all your vital meds are in your carry-on so that you guys and your meds never get separated.

As to packing, I've done a zillion methods. I've taken the pill organizers. I've taken plastic sleeves (I have a stash of over every possible size). You name it, I've done it. But since I've aged and my bottom has, let's say, "dropped big time", the weight I can lift has suddenly been restricted. Even plastic dosage organizers now end up adding up just a few more ounces. I'm now big into little plastic sleeves with labels for the tiny meds and featherweight containers for bulky meds. I carry an emergency supply of antibiotics that go in their original container. I now group all, no matter what size or shape, into ONE transparent packing cube so that they can be pulled out for immediate inspection if needed and make sure they are at the tip-top of a carry-on.

For overnight flights, I pack my night's dosage into a little plastic sleeve in my tiny purse.

Good planning!
AZ
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2019, 05:56 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,305
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
On our last rip we used one of those daily dose plastic multi-compartments with the flip up snap closed tops. One top popped open during transit. Searching a carry on's contents for all the little pills was not fun.
AJPeabody is online now  
Old Jul 28th, 2019, 07:26 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,748
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
AJPeabody, that's why I now use the envelopes with numbered plastic pouches that were referenced by Seamus:
https://www.amazon.com/Lewis-N-Clark-Organizer-Slide-Locking/dp/B0027RWNN6/ref=pd_bxgy_121_img_3/141-9858746-7431861?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0027RWNN6&pd_rd_r=47ebc257-26d5-47e2-b5ed-e38da2b39509&pd_rd_w=7gv8n&pd_rd_wg=U3aTg&pf_rd_p=a2006322-0bc0-4db9-a08e-d168c18ce6f0&pf_rd_r=M66ZQ3JT1HW643R8YPG9&psc=1&refRID=M66ZQ3JT1HW643R8YPG9 https://www.amazon.com/Lewis-N-Clark-Organizer-Slide-Locking/dp/B0027RWNN6/ref=pd_bxgy_121_img_3/141-9858746-7431861?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0027RWNN6&pd_rd_r=47ebc257-26d5-47e2-b5ed-e38da2b39509&pd_rd_w=7gv8n&pd_rd_wg=U3aTg&pf_rd_p=a2006322-0bc0-4db9-a08e-d168c18ce6f0&pf_rd_r=M66ZQ3JT1HW643R8YPG9&psc=1&refRID=M66ZQ3JT1HW643R8YPG9

If I have to take the plastic container with the pop up lids (in a hurry, short trip, etc) I use electrical tape over the pop up lids.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2019, 07:50 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 70,631
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
AJPeabody: And that's why I use the small ziploks -- it would be almost impossible to open by accident.

If I had a lot of meds I definitely consider using the organizer tuscanlifedit and seamus linked. But I only take two prescriptions plus a a few OTC and supplements so the little baggies are all I need.
janisj is online now  
Old Jul 29th, 2019, 03:47 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,350
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
< On our last rip we used one of those daily dose plastic multi-compartments with the flip up snap closed tops. >

Now I always slip my pill boxes into a quart ziploc baggie. I too have had to search my carryon for tiny pills...never again.
michele_d is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2019, 03:59 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96,708
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
No you don't need the original bottles. And no you don't need a 90-day supply (unless you're going away for that long)!

I would take enough for how ever many days your trip is, plus a 1-week supply extra (just in case). Put them in pill containers or baggie or whatever you want. Label them, for your own use so they don't get mixed up. Or make small 1-day baggies with a 1-day supply or your usual meds.
suze is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2019, 04:41 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,300
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by suze View Post
... I would take enough for how ever many days your trip is, plus a 1-week supply extra (just in case). Put them in pill containers or baggie or whatever you want. Label them, for your own use so they don't get mixed up. Or make small 1-day baggies with a 1-day supply or your usual meds.
This is what I do and in the past I've carried a printout from my pharmacy website with the prescription info and pill description (as described in an earlier post). I've never even been questioned on it and afaik, no one has even looked twice at my meds.



Trophywife007 is online now  
Old Jul 29th, 2019, 06:14 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 11,770
Received 26 Likes on 4 Posts
Maybe a minor point, I take more than just a few days supply extra with me always. I guess my definition of "just in case" takes in more possibilities & also my Rx isn't available outside the US apparently. One scenario, a friend has just returned from Europe & his just-in-case lasted weeks when his wife became ill & couldn't travel home.
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Jul 30th, 2019, 05:09 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 40,992
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Originally Posted by AJPeabody View Post
On our last rip we used one of those daily dose plastic multi-compartments with the flip up snap closed tops. One top popped open during transit. Searching a carry on's contents for all the little pills was not fun.
We always put the boxes with the flip up tops inside a ziplock bag so that if one of the compartments does open the pills are confined. But those boxes are bulky and when you are taking three-four weeks-worth of pills it can get problematic. I appreciate the link to those packets above and may switch to using those.
Dukey1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -