Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Taking Prescription Medications in Carry On Bag

Taking Prescription Medications in Carry On Bag

May 31st, 2008, 04:49 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 66
Taking Prescription Medications in Carry On Bag

When taking prescription medications in your carry on bags, do they need to be in the original bottles, labels affixed showing what each is and who it's for, etc. - or can they be put into "baggie" type plastic bags, to conserve space? If using these bags, do you need to get the labels off the bottles and onto the bags to be in compliance? I believe I'd read sometime ago on the TSA website, that proper labeling was required, but they didn't seem to require the round plastic bottles. My poor Mom, who takes quite a few medications daily, would like to conserve some space in her carry on! Any personal experiences you can share would be very helpful!
koryn is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 04:56 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,705
First of all no one is even going to look thru the carryon bag unless something suspicious shows in the x-ray. That being the case, i put all my Rx meds in 7 day pillkeepers and have the labels all stuck onto a piece of paper, mainly in case I need to replace something. Or she could get copies of her Rxs, written generically. The bottles do take up quite a bit of space. Or she could have the pharmacist print oy labels and attach them to smaller bottles that would hold only the amounts necessary for her trip.
avalon is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 05:05 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 317
There is no issue whatsoever with your Mom putting her meds into a plastic pillkeeper. I take a cosmetic bag and put all my meds in one place in my carry on...you could go to your pharmacy and ask them to give you a print out of her medications, put them in small ziplocks and then inside a larger one with the copy of scripts.
jelane is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 07:38 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,242
The TSA website says "original labels recommended" - not containers. It also says basically (definitely paraphrasing here) if you don't have the labels they can work it out but that labels just make things easier/quicker if there is a question.

99%+ of the time the agents will not ask/care/look at your meds. The other 1% - yes, having labels or prescriptions will help.

It is good to take prescriptions or labels for any vital meds anyway just in case. I'd tell her to put her pills in either a daily dispenser box, or in a ziplok bag and have labels or prescriptions (Most pharmacies will print out an extra label for you).
janisj is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 09:12 AM
  #5  
pat
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,439
The most that has ever happened to me, is the inspector picked up a pill bottle, shook it and said "medication?" and put it back. Otherwise no one has paid the slightest attention to any meds, as long as they aren`t in liquid form and are not over the size limit. I wouldn`t even worry about it.
pat is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 09:52 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 673
I have a liquid prescription that I take and it comes in a large bottle. I had the pharmacist repackage some of it in a 3 ounce bottle to save space.

It's more of a concern coming back into the U.S. that you will need labels on any schedule II and above medications. In other words, you should be OK with antibiodics & blood pressure medicine. Drugs like Ambien, Xanax and Vicodin you will definately want the labels. You can legally buy codeine in some countries in Europe without a prescription but you cannot bring them back to the U.S. without one.

So, if the number on your prescription begins with the letter C, I would leave it in the original bottle.
Linda431 is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 10:07 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,851
I carry a billion supplements (which look like pharma drugs) and one prescription--the script I leave in the bottles which I split up so if I somehow lose it I still have more-it's valium. I leave that in the script bottles for ease, not to show what it is--the pills are not marked so a TSA agent wouldn't know what it was anyway. Everything else I put in the jumbo day of the week pill box to save space--I just put all the magnesium in monday, b-complex in tuesday and so forth.

My handbag is filled with bottles of supplements that are in old script bottles as that is how I carry them normally so I can take throughout the day. No one has ever asked what anything was. I would not worry about it unless she is taking an injectable, which of course needs to be labeled for the needles.

Just my opinion/way of packing of pills.
cherrybomb is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 11:11 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 673
You're right about the TSA agents not knowing (or caring). Sorry....I got sidetracked and was thinking about U.S. Customs agents on the return.
Linda431 is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 11:20 AM
  #9  
GBC
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 730
We must carry lots of meds. We're never had anyone even pay attention to them. I do repackage some of them to conserve space. My guess is that the only ones that might be challenged would be some form of liquid or jel or if they were in some sort of glass container. These days, the inspectors would probably be surprised if an older traveler did NOT have some meds.
GBC is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 12:03 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,772
I recommend to my patients to have a new prescription for each medication you take and carry that with you in addition to your actual medications. Not only does this come in handy on the slight chance you are questioned, but should something happen (lost, dropped in the loo, etc.) and you need a refill while on the road you will have the Rx.

If you take several meds it can be a space problem. You can ask your pharmacist to dispense a supply just enough to cover your planned time away (plus day or two extra just in case) in the smallest possible container. If you run into a problem with your insurance saying it is too soon to refill, tell the pharmacy that you are requesting a vacation fill and that sally gets the approval.

You can also ask that pills be dispensed in blister packs - flat pieces of light cardboard with each pill in a little plastic bubble, sealed with foil and with a label on each pack. Most pharmacies can do this; if you use a large chain that cannot provide this service, find a local mom and pop pharmacy for this one time. These are quite handy for packing and reduce the chances of spilling the contents of the bottle when taking out a single dose.
Seamus is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 01:27 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,705
After 50 years as a Mom and Pop pharmacist, they are still your best bet. Though I've never been asked to do a blister pak. If It's not available pre-packed that way there is no way we could do it. Just pack them whatever way is convenient and take RX copies or labels. Stress over other things.
avalon is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 01:44 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,772
avalon -
agree that "mom and pop" is best. Also know that not all can do blister pack, but many have added this to their services as a way to differentiate from the big box shops. I tell people who have trouble finding a pharmacy to do blister pack to look for a compounding pharmacy or check with a local nursing homes to see who they use.
Seamus is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 01:47 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,705
Yes Seamus, a former colleage works for a compounding pharmacy and they can do blister packs..if you want to pay their very high fee
avalon is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 08:56 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 15,193
I explained that I was traveling and my pharmacy printed an extra set of labels that I used when dividing my meds into zip-loc snack bags. There was no fee for the labels.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 03:31 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,136
This discussion is getting itself RIDICULOUSLY confused.

1. No security checking organisation has serious rules about medicines in general in carry-ons. With just ONE exception, take what you want (as long as it fits into bags of the size and weight allowed on board) and put it where you want.

With just one exception, medicines don't need to be put into any kind of plastic bag. And no-one on earth cares a cup of cold coffee whether the packaging is original or not

2. The one (or rather 1.5) exception is medicines that are liquid or jel. These MUST go into the plastic bag, and you MUST be able to demonstrate they're real medicine and not some chemical your friendly neighbourhood bomber asked you to carry on board. Labels, prescriptions and authentic-looking packaging are essential.

There's currently a gang of alleged friendly neighbourhood bombers on trial for trying to carry just such liquids through UK security. If the case is well-founded, and had they got through, a dozen or so transatlantic jets would have been blown up: the anti-liquid rules are vital, and need to be enforced stringently.

But none of this affects what you do with a few hundred aspirin pills. All this original packagining malarkey is just a load of urban myths.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 04:24 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
>>No security checking organisation has serious rules about medicines in general in carry-ons.<<

Sound advice for travel into Europe but, as an aside, there are some gawdf'rsaken places such as UAE where travellers have actually been imprisoned for carrying prescription drugs and even over-the-counter cold and flu remedies containing codeine.
Gordon_R is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 04:38 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,711
2. The one (or rather 1.5) exception is medicines that are liquid or jel. These MUST go into the plastic bag,

Nonsense.
Liquid medication (and baby food) does neither go in the plastic bag nor accounts to the 1 bag/ 1 liter maximum, according to both TSA and EU regulations.
Though, pax are allowed those quantities which they need for the trip, i.e. for the flight, and may be requested to demonstrate that these liquids are really medicine.


From an earlier posting:
I recommend to my patients to have a new prescription for each medication you take and carry that with you in addition to your actual medications. Not only does this come in handy on the slight chance you are questioned, but should something happen (lost, dropped in the loo, etc.) and you need a refill while on the road you will have the Rx.

It may come handy on the chance you are requested to give proof at the security checkpoint.
But: An US Rx. is more or less just a piece of paper, which does not give you any refill at a European pharmacy. Even the brand name of your medication is often useless, since pharmaceutical often offer identical products under different names. It is more practical to also know the active ingredients of your medication. In addition, in those EU countries I know, you have to see a doctor first to get an Rx. according to the local laws. Your US Rx. may help to convince the local doctor that you really need those pills, but it will be much easier if you have some info from your doctor that you are on medication for ABC and get 100mg X, 50mg Y, and so on.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 06:53 AM
  #18  
Jed
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
My RiteAid pharm will put my pills in a small prescription envelope with a label if I want. Simple.
Jed is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 09:32 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 673
My we have gone off target here.

Again, my advice was for U.S. customs on your return, not for TSA. And that was mostly about schedule II or higher.
Linda431 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:51 PM.