10 Important Facts About Taking Medicines Abroad

Posted by on Nov 23 | 2015

According to international law, there are two classes of medicines: psychotropics and narcotics.

Travelling Medicines

Psychotropics are used to treat mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and narcotics are high-calibre painkillers such as morphine and codeine. Although both classes are used as various types of prescription drugs, they may not be allowed in every country. When you are preparing for a trip or big move abroad and you take prescription medication daily, there are 10 important facts you should know:

  1. Find out everything about the drug you are travelling with. Ensure you ask your doctors these two important questions in advance, just in case you are stopped at the border: Is it a narcotic? What is its generic name? You can also find this information online.
  2. If you are travelling with narcotics you will need to bring a letter from your doctor.
  3. If you will be away for an extended period of time, you will need to bring a prescription from your doctor.
  4. You may need an import licence to bring medication into certain countries. Your doctor can help you with this.
  5. The quantity of medication you can bring with you varies from country to country but generally, you can bring between a 1-3 months supply with you.
  6. If you lose your medication go to a hospital to get it replaced. Do not purchase your medicine in a pharmacy at your new destination. Just because something is available over-the-counter in one country doesn’t mean it is as safe as it is back home.
  7. Pack medicine in your carry-on bag, in its original packaging when you cross an international border. Make sure that the packaging is clearly labelled. In some instances, border guards will call your physician if they have questions about the medication.
  8. If your medication is administered via syringe, you will need a note from your doctor explaining that it is absolutely necessary that it be taken in that fashion.
  9. Learn how to store your medication properly if you are travelling to a country with a drastically different climate than you’re used to. Some medications need to be kept at room temperature which will differ from where you are now and where you are going. The temperature of your room in Montreal in October will not be the same as the temperature of your room in Kuala Lampur in May.
  10. Before you leave, check the country you will be travelling to’s embassy to further make sure you have everything in order for your medication.

The most important thing to remember about travelling abroad with medication is remembering to take it as prescribed. Do not mess around with the dosage or intervals between administration. Take your medicine as you normally would.

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