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Long term travel while taking prescription medications

Long term travel while taking prescription medications

Old Oct 8th, 2022, 06:09 AM
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Long term travel while taking prescription medications

Hi Everyone,

I have a simple question. I want to take some time out to do some long term travelling over a few years. However, I currently take two sets of medication for anxiety: sertraline and propranolol. Is it possible to acquire medications like these while in a foreign country? If so how? What preparations would I need to make to ensure I can take my medication?

Thanks,

Davinder
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 07:39 AM
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Welcome to Fodors.

Your questions aren't actually that 'simple', since rules and requirements are different in different parts of the world. What country are you from and which countries are you planning to visit? In some countries, you can simply fill a prescription from your own doctor. In many, like parts of Europe, one needs to visit a local doctor to get a new prescription.

Neither of those Meds are considered a controlled substance in the States but I have no idea in other countries.

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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 08:49 AM
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I'm looking to travel across Latin America. I'm not sure what countries yet.

Do you know how I could find out the rules and requirements?

When you say 'controlled substance', what does that mean? If something isn't a controlled substance, does that mean you can purchase it without a prescription?
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 11:12 AM
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This is a problem that I wonder about, too. I take just 1 prescription med but as far as I've been able to discover, it's only available in the US. Which means I guess I'd have to return once a year for a checkup & to refill the prescription for a year.

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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 05:41 PM
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@MmePerdu - you could look into telemedicine and mail order pharmacies. Of course, the visit and the medication will probably be cheaper, likely much cheaper, almost anywhere other than the US.
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Old Oct 8th, 2022, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd
@MmePerdu - you could look into telemedicine and mail order pharmacies. Of course, the visit and the medication will probably be cheaper, likely much cheaper, almost anywhere other than the US.
If it were available elsewhere, I have no doubt, though itís pretty cheap here.

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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 09:41 AM
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If you take those meds, you know you need a prescriptions and some medical oversight. I cannot believe any competent doctor will write you a prescription for two years away. In fact, I'm not even sure that is possible legally or that any pharmacy would accept such a thing.

Which means you'll have to continue to see some medical specialist who is legally allowed to write prescriptions for those substances and can oversee you. Maybe nowadays that would be possible with telemedicine for those drugs. I do not understand at all why you are not asking these questions of the professional who is writing these prescriptions for you now. Propanolol is for high blood pressure and a beta blocker, you can't just take that without medical supervision and checkups. And it can interact with Zoloft, also, so you really need to be seeing a professional.

I do have a couple prescriptions where I've been seeing a specialist for years and they are under control, and he does write out a prescription for a year, but I'm sure he wouldn't for two years.

Whether you can get such drugs without a prescription in some Latin American country, don't know. But wouldn't surprise me if you could given some lax oversight of pharmacies and drugs used there. I just think it is a bad idea and don't know why you would want to do that. Also, they could be bad drugs in terms of quality of even mixed with something not used in the US. You can get various anti-anxiety and pain killers meds in Mexico OTC, but those aren't in those categories.
Sertraline is a controlled substance in Mexico. Which means you need a prescription and it cannot be from a foreign doctor. I don't know about other countries.
I think it may be easy in Costa Rica.

In fact, many drugs are controlled substances in the US which refers to drugs covered under a certain law which are those with potential for abuse and addiction at various levels. There are different categories, that's all. One category are drugs with no legal purpose (like heroin), other schedules are for those which can be abused with different likelihoods. Most are "narcotics" of some kind, but not all. Category of least likely abuse will include cough medicines with codeine.
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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 12:23 PM
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Canít you have a family member or friend mail it to you as you travel?
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Old Oct 15th, 2022, 10:11 PM
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Have you asked the doctor that prescribes them how you should handle this? That seems the place to start.

"to do some long term travelling over a few years"

Do you mean to stay away for a few years at one shot? Or over the course of a few years you will take a few different longer trips? I believe most physicians would be OK prescribing for a 3 or even 6 month supply, knowing you are traveling.

In Mexico there are different rules than the US over various medications. It is not expensive but you'd need to see a Mexican doctor for a local prescription, unless it happens to be OTC.


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Old Oct 26th, 2022, 07:46 AM
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I live in Italy. Here a traveler can get an emergency refill of a foreign prescription without seeing a doctor. You would have to pay for it, of course, because it wouldn't be covered by our national health service. However, most medicines cost much less here than in the USA.

If you were going to be away for an extended time, you would have to see a doctor to get a new prescription. Larger towns in Italy have a guardia medica for tourists. In Italy, prescriptions have to be renewed monthly, and I don't know if you could keep going to the guardia medica.

This brings up another concern. You haven't told us where you're coming from. Most countries would require a visa for a long-term stay, and would require that you have health insurance coverage. In the EU, for example, even if you're coming from a "visa waiver" country, you would need a visa if you stay more than 90 days, and health insurance would be required.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 06:07 AM
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Hello,

I am a bit late to the party with this reply . . .

I am an Australian slow-travelling with my husband in Europe. We both take prescription medicines: his is for cholesterol and mine is for high blood pressure. Garden-variety stuff.

We were both able to get a prescription from our doctor that allowed us to purchase 12 months' worth of medication under the Australian government's subsidised-medicine scheme. Any longer than that, we would have to pay "privately" - which would cost more.

Partly driven by this rule, and also by the desire to see family and friends, we will be returning to Australia once every 12 months: to have annual medical tests, to refresh our medicine supply, and catch up with people we love.

We thought it might look strange having so many boxes of medcine in our luggage, so we each have a letter from our doctor saying why we need it. But to be honest, we have never been questioned about it (so far).

Anyway, I hope that helps.
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