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What do I need to know when traveling with my prescription medications?

Dear Anita,

Do I need to pack my prescription medications in their original bottles?

Janet M.

Dear Janet,

There are no special requirements for documentation to support typical prescription drugs. However, there are some things you should do when traveling with your medications.

  • Never pack your pills in checked baggage. Besides the risk of losing your luggage, extreme heat and cold in luggage compartments could harm your medicine.
  • Carry an extra supply of medication with a copy of each prescription. Keep all medicines in their original pharmacy container, not in a pillbox or bag. Drugs in pharmacy containers are easier to show and explain what they are in case you're asked.
  • It's also smart to carry a letter from your doctor spelling out what medicines you take and why. Documentation always helps, especially in foreign countries.
  • Most prescription drugs are permitted in most countries; however, some drugs that are questionable could be confiscated, except in extenuating circumstances where prior approval has been obtained. Example would be a cancer patient taking a type of medication that has a high percentage of pain killer.

When traveling with prescriptions in today's heavy security screening environment, it goes without saying a little planning goes a long way.

I hope I've been helpful. Happy Travels!

Anita Dunham-Potter

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