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Carrying Medication on Tour

Old 06-12-12, 11:46 PM
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Carrying Medication on Tour

Rowan and I are about to set off on an 8-month Round-the-World tour. As it happens, I have a genetic predisposition toward developing blood clots, and therefore I need anti-clotting injections before and after any flight over about 5 hours. I am also on a daily medication to reduce the effects of this genetic predisposition. And I need to carry inhalers for asthma. So I'll be carrying quite a bit of medication with me. Unfortunately it will take up quite a bit of room in my pannier!!


My tips for carrying medication ...

1. You should be able to ask your pharmacist to package your pills into smaller bottles for you. Rather than carrying all 200 pills in one large bottle, have the pharmacist package them in lots of 50. That might be easier to carry and may help preserve them. Also, if you happen to lose a bottle somehow, you'll still have enough pills to get you to another pharmacist.

You might also be able to ask the pharmicist for brands which have coating or something to make them less likely to disintegrate.

2. Get a letter from your Dr regarding all medications you might be carrying, and all vaccines you have had.

3. Carry your prescription. For both travel between countries and also to be able to order more if necessary.

4. Carry your pills in their original bottles. This is especially important for travel between countries.
Advice on how to carry prescription medication: https://www.voyage.gc.ca/Net/drug-tra....aspx?lang=eng

5. Don't travel with any pills that you don't need, or if you do, travel with small quantities of them and buy more along the way as necessary ... especially if you're travelling between countries.

As far as supplements like vitamins and minerals, unless you need a certain dosage for a medical reason, get your vitamins and minerals from your food. Try to eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods, and lots of fruit, veg, and whole grains.


If you are also in the position where you have to carry medication on your tours, do you have any tips to add?
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Old 06-13-12, 12:35 AM
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try to have friends, authorized to pick up your prescriptions and charge for their cost,
then mail ahead packets to Post offices ,
via Post Restante/ General delivery services, all the better.
seems much easier now , with internet, as you do have fast communications ,
though the Airmail will still take a couple days.

of course due to the health care game in the US ,
Canadians, and other visitors need to buy Insurance ,
before they come over.

Cross your fingers if it really covers you.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-13-12 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 06-13-12, 12:56 AM
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Mailing ahead might be a good idea, if ...

... we knew where we were going to be.

... we were absolutely sure the medications could get into the countries in question without issue.
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Old 06-13-12, 04:42 AM
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The other factor is immunisations. We've both been through the mill before leaving on this trip, and its cost a fair swag of money to go some way to safeguard our health.

Apart from almost $1500 in travel insurance (that covers much more than just health and repatriation costs), we've spent around $600 on immunisations for typhoid, cholera, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis.

We consulted with our doctors on what we should have. The typhoid and cholera were largely because we were visiting South America, and the diphtheria is bundled with the tetanus shots.

Machka also has preventive (prophylactic) protection for malaria but we're not really sure we need it -- we'll be using lots of insect repellent and insect killer sprays if needed. We also passed on the yellow fever because we are not going to northern Peru where it is most prevalent.
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Old 06-13-12, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
If you are also in the position where you have to carry medication on your tours, do you have any tips to add?

if you know which countries you'll be visiting, find out the names of your medications (both
the brand name and the generic name) in the local language.

if going to a non-alphabet country, write down the name in their characters, along with the
pronunciation.

find out if they are locally available. only at hospitals with prescription, or at any pharmacy OTC.

find out if your medication is controlled. if so, can you bring it in? what's the limit?

do the same with alternate medications.

much of this info can be found on expat forums.
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Old 06-13-12, 12:33 PM
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Be careful about local laws

Be extremely careful about local laws. Many drugs that are otc or legal prescription drugs in one country are prescription only or entirely illegal in another country. For example, Sudafed is prescription-only in Japan. A muscle relaxant that is prescribed for sciatica is illegal even with a prescription in the Emirates. One friend of mine found himself flushing a prescription he needed down the toilet in the middle of the night to avoid a possible arrest!

If you are also in the position where you have to carry medication on your tours, do you have any tips to add?[/QUOTE]
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Old 06-13-12, 12:52 PM
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Sometime it is easier and cheaper to get Immunizations oversea. Even prescription drugs are much cheaper.
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Old 06-13-12, 03:42 PM
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Australia is well served by a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme by which the Federal Government contributes to the cost of drugs. I think I noticed on one of the prescriptions in our pre-travel process as cost of $101 but the actual charge at the counter was around $30.
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Old 06-13-12, 07:32 PM
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I carry two pieces of paper folded up in a belt that has a long skinny zippered pocket. One has a photo copy of the important page from my passport and the front side of all of my credit cards and driver license. The other has the back sides of the credit cards with phone numbers, copy of my medical insurance card that lists primary physician and phone number, copy of another medical insurance card, the pharmacy benefits management company card and a business card from my pharmacy with phone number. On some trips I have carried a bit of money in the belt too. If I had the list of meds that you carry, I would probably have a copy of the prescriptions in the belt too. This is the belt:
https://www.rei.com/product/819722/ea...ain-money-belt

Some have commented that this belt buckle could pop open. I have not had any problem like that but I did make a small velcro keeper strap that helps keep the excess strap from hanging out, if I needed to I could strap that strap around the buckle. The buckle is plastic instead of metal for going thru airline security.

I prefer the pill bottles that are not child proof for home use, as no children are here to get at them. But, the child proof bottles are less likely to spill everything when traveling. Your point number 1 - several small bottles instead of one big one, that also helps reduce your pack size as you empty and discard excess bottles.

I carry the meds and some other small dry items in a drybag. (Dry items means that my tooth brush which gets wet, liquid soaps, etc., does not get stored in the drybag with my pills.) If I carried an inhaler I would have a separate drybag for liquid medicines so that they do not leak into the dry meds which are in a separate dry bag.

Since there are two of you traveling together, each of you can carry most of your own meds and an emergency supply of your partners meds. Then if a backpack or pannier gets stolen, you still have meds for both of you.

A small pill bottle that is water tight that you can carry in your pocket is convenient if you have meds that you are supposed to have with food. That way when you go to the restaurant for dinner, you can carry your immediate supply in a single small bottle in your pocket.

Have a great trip.
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Old 06-13-12, 08:31 PM
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If crossing borders make sure you have the pills in the bottle from the pharmacy. I was almost forced to toss my meds crossing back into the US because they were not in the prescription bottle. But the agent said "he didn't ask to see the meds" and let me slide. But he warned me that next time I should have meds in the bottles. How they would know they are the right bottles is anyone's guess.
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Old 06-13-12, 09:02 PM
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Well, one of the things they don't want to see is a bottle that contains several different kinds of pills. Then they know that some of those pills are not in their original bottles. As Randonneurs, we sometimes do that ... take one small pill bottle and put our painkillers and electrolyte tablets all together for the duration of the ride. It saves on space. But as cycletourists, that's not a good idea.

Another thing they are looking for is the prescription information on the side of the bottle or package.
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Old 06-14-12, 06:53 AM
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So you're giving all this advice before you've actually gone on your big trip, right?

Let's keep in mind that what you would do for 1 week is very different than what you'd do for 1 year. If I'm going for 1 or 2 weeks, or touring in my home country which happens to be very large (e.g. US, Canada, Australia), most of the tips are excessive.

Oh, and when my doctor says to take a multivitamin and fish oil and Florastor, I'm taking them. But thanks for the medical advice.
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Old 06-14-12, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
So you're giving all this advice before you've actually gone on your big trip, right?
It's not the first time I've travelled overseas with my DVT medication.

And not the first time I've travelled between countries with other medications.

Last edited by Machka; 06-14-12 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 06-14-12, 07:23 AM
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Get some extra cotton wool. As you use the pills add extra cotton wool to the bottle.

This will stop them rattling around in the bottle and destroying each other.

The outside coating can be important if the pills need to be delivered to a particular part of the digestive tract. Some coatings are designed to not open up until they get to said part.

z
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Old 12-09-12, 08:48 PM
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Just an update on this ...

We've followed the advice I posted in my first thread over the past 6 months, through 13 countries, and ... so far, so good.

It is, however, a bit of a pain to carry as much medication as I am. I'd have so much more room in my panniers without it all. But then, I could be in a lot of trouble without it all.
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