TAKING MEDICINES ABROAD
- If possible, try to take enough medication for your whole trip, as well as extra in case of delays, to ensure you do not run out. If your medication has to be kept refrigerated, you could store it in a small cool bag, obtainable from chemists, or in a cooling wallet that works without refrigeration.
- If you need to get new supplies of your medication while you are away, try to plan for this. As well as taking a full list of your medications, you could also check with the relevant pharmaceutical company whether your medications are likely to be easily available in the countries you plan to visit. If your medication cannot be obtained where you are going, then you could ask your doctor for a private prescription, and purchase extra supplies from a pharmacy. You may also want to take a good supply of any over-the-counter medicines you are using, such asanti-diarrheals,anti-spasmodics, rehydration sachets and pain killers. However,anti-diarrhealsare not recommended if you are having a flare-up of your IBD.
- You may need to check with your airline before you fly whether there are any other restrictions or rules which will affect travelling with your medications. This will particularly apply if you need to take syringes in either your hand luggage or checked-in bags. You may wish to consider purchasing a travel sized Sharps bin for disposal once you arrive at your destination. You could then take it to a local medical centre with Sharps disposal, and show them the letter from your doctor or consultant to dispose of them. If it is a short trip, you may wish to bring the syringes back with you in the Sharps container, and dispose of them in the usual way once you are home.
- Many medicines prescribed specifically for IBD do not contain controlled drugs. However, some people with IBD may be taking other medications such as codeine or morphine both of which do contain controlled drugs. Some countries have restrictions on bringing in drugs for personal use. You can check with the embassy of the country you will be visiting whether this applies to your medications. You may need a personallicenceto take your medicines abroad, as some prescription medicines contain drugs subject to control under the Misuse of Drugs legislation. Personallicencesare only required if you are leaving the country carrying supplies for 3 months or more. You may need to apply at least 10 days in advance to ensure it is processed before you leave.
- If you aretravellingacross different time zones you may wonder about the timing of your medication. Your specialist may be able to advise you. Some people split the difference between the time they would have taken it in Canada and the time at their destination. You could then gradually adjust the timing of your medication to the country you will be in, and do the same on the return journey.
- If you aretravellingabroad, the government advises you to keep your drugs in their original packaging, along with the Patient Information Leaflet, to show at customs. You may also need to show customs your letter from your Family Physician, IBD specialist or Consultant.
- Storing your medication in your hand luggage when flying will help if your baggage is lost. Hand luggage restrictions mean that if you have more than 100 ml of medicine in your hand luggage you will need to show a letter from your doctor stating your medical need.