Dubai - medications

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#1
19,422 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Does anyone have the list of meds, including over the counter medications, which are illegal in Dubai?

I know Sudafed, but maybe only some formulas. We are looking for a substitute as we usually always travel with Sudafed PE for severe colds. It is now behind the counter in the US and requires a drivers license, although not a prescription.
#2
Edinburgh
9,988 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
I posted this official list on your roll call on 17 October in response to your query
There is no list re over the counter medication, like most countries, the list is based on the official pharmacological naming
http://www.uaeinteract.com/travel/drug.asp

In reality, as long as items are in official packaging the odds of having an issue are very slight, most likely if you offend the checkers for some other reason. Being pleasant to them and allowing them to take the time they want in any search works wonders
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#3
Muscat/Oman and Sydney/Australia
690 Posts
Joined May 2011
Apart perhaps from super specialized medicines, everything is available in the UAE.
There are plenty of pharmacies and chemists all over the place that will be able to help.
If in doubt, bring the empty carton or information sheet and the chemist will be able to know exactly what you need. Some products may be sold under a different name than the name you are used to, but they will be from the same company and perhaps produced somewhere else under license.
Don't let that stress you.
#4
Arlington VA/London
637 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by Jade13
Does anyone have the list of meds, including over the counter medications, which are illegal in Dubai?

I know Sudafed, but maybe only some formulas. We are looking for a substitute as we usually always travel with Sudafed PE for severe colds. It is now behind the counter in the US and requires a drivers license, although not a prescription.
There are a variety of cold and flu remedies available in Dubai pharmacies such as Actifed cold & flu, Panadol cold & flu, Lemonsip (similar to Theraflu,) Robitussin cough syrup (but only the basic guaifenesin formula,) and Vicks throat lozenges to help alleviate cold and flu symptoms....hopefully you won't need any of them on your vacation
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#5
England
237 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
There can be difficulties with medications in to Dubai. You must check that any medication brought in does NOT contain codeine. It is a cocaine derivative and most definitely not allowed. For other medications,, if they are prescription, bring a copy of the prescription with you.
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#6
1,113 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
I phoned the medical dept of the UAE Embassy in London to enquire about co-codamol which contains codeine. The gentleman I spoke to said I could only take in sufficient for my trip and I would need a doctor's letter to cover me. I asked if a prescription would do and he said it had to be a letter. When we visited Dubai a couple of years ago no check was made on my medication (no co-codamol at the time) but I wouldn't risk taking it with me without the correct documentation.
#7
England
237 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
It's good that you checked directly, however as a resident here, I would not risk bringing any product in to Dubai containing codeine, with or without a doctors letter. Unfortunately here, the left hand doesn't always know what the right hand has said, and rules are frequently applied inconsistently. It all depends on who is on duty on the day!

We have actually just booked a cruise from Dubai and the cruise line has issued specific advice in the pre-cruise pack not to bring codeine or related products in to the country.
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#8
Bellingham, WA, USA
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Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by uktog
I posted this official list on your roll call on 17 October in response to your query
There is no list re over the counter medication, like most countries, the list is based on the official pharmacological naming
http://www.uaeinteract.com/travel/drug.asp

In reality, as long as items are in official packaging the odds of having an issue are very slight, most likely if you offend the checkers for some other reason. Being pleasant to them and allowing them to take the time they want in any search works wonders
Thank you for this link listing problem meds.

We are just flying through Dubai in November on the way to a cruise starting in Sri Lanka. If one stays within the secure airport area (we are staying overnight at the airport hotel within the secure area) is there a medication check for that do you know? I'm concerned about some of my husband's asthma meds.
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#9
Muscat/Oman and Sydney/Australia
690 Posts
Joined May 2011
I am travelling to / transiting in DXB at least once a month.
Never have I seen a check of that sorts.
What IS checked (and only seen this for flights to USA, UK and Australia) that a secondary check for LIQUIDS may take place, depending on the airline you are flying with.)
In any case, I suggest you take a clearly written or better still typed and stamped note from your doctor about any and all medications you take.

By the way, customs and immigration in CMB can be very "challenging", depending on their mood on the day.
Note that on the way OUT of Sri Lanka (should you fly back from there) you will be checked AT LEAST 3 times before you make it to the plane. :-)
#10
Leicester UK
342 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Hi

We too are going to Dubai in April and have just been told about not taking codeine into Dubai. I really cannot understand this. Codeine is NOT a derivative of Cocaine as someone from Dubai had stated - I wonder if this is a common mistake made in Dubai and that is why they don't allow it!!!

Cocaine comes from the Cocoa plant, it is a sedative and pain killer. Codeine is an opiate, this is a stimulant and anaesthetic NOT the same thing at all.

Perhaps they don't understand the difference in Dubai. Either way I am not chancing taking any codeine with me. Just thought I should set the record straight for everyone.

Happy sailings
Lyn
#11
Arizona/Missouri
14,848 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Originally posted by Lyn Mc
Hi

We too are going to Dubai in April and have just been told about not taking codeine into Dubai. I really cannot understand this. Codeine is NOT a derivative of Cocaine as someone from Dubai had stated - I wonder if this is a common mistake made in Dubai and that is why they don't allow it!!!
Where did you get the cocaine/codeine connection??? Cocaine is illegal in most of the world. Codeine is NOT allowed in most of the Middle East (you can't take it into Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, UAE, etc. etc) UNLESS you purchase the medicine IN COUNTRY!!! Is it in those countries-YES. Can you BRING IT INTO THOSE COUNTRIES-NO!!!

That is the difference. Imported, NO, even if it is your personal prescription without a LOT of paperwork. US CITIZENS require a letter from doctor, a prescription, a letter from their own STATE's STATE dept and last but not least, authorization from the US STATE DEPT. Is it readily available in the form of Tylenol 3 (codeine + tylenol and various derivatives) YES

MUCH, MUCH easier finding a doctor in Dubai to prescribe for you than trying to bring it in.

So no mistake confusing cocaine and codeine.
#12
Leicester UK
342 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Hi greatam

In answer to your question - see post 5 - Bedruthen (from Dubai) in this post stated that codeine was a derivative of cocaine - this is not true

Of course cocaine should be banned but I do not understand why codeine is banned - perhaps because it is an opiate!!???

As I already stated, I will not be bringing it into the country so I do not understand your comments, nor the use of your CAPITAL LETTERS!!!

Oh and by the way I am not American!!!!!!
#13
Edinburgh UK
8,117 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
It's because it's an opiate and if taken regularly addictive. I use slop adenine occasionally which is part codeine part paracetamol. It's the only thing that works when I occasionally get a severe headache. It carries warning not to take for more than 3 days. When I was getting a typhoid vaccination for business trip to Dubai and Mumbai, I mentioned that it was a pain that I could not take codeine with me. The nurse was of the opinion that it should only be a prescription drug in the UK and that being able to get it over the counter as we can was wrong because of its addictive properties.
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#14
Leicester UK
342 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Thanks for the clarification AmoMondo. I thought 'opiates' was the reason, now I know for sure.

Very difficult when only one thing seems to work for pain and that just happens to be banned if travelling to a particular country. It wouldn't have changed my plans but does make things awkward for visitors who need to take a codeine based perscription.