Taking prescription medication to Europe

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#1
California
55 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I'm taking my mother on a Mediterranean cruise. Can she just take her pill organizer or will she have to take all the original prescription bottles?
#2
Southern California by way of Kentucky
18,451 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by senna1
I'm taking my mother on a Mediterranean cruise. Can she just take her pill organizer or will she have to take all the original prescription bottles?
I just took my pill organizer....western med cruise out of Barcelona...and never had any problem at all...it was never even looked at by anyone.
#3
SoCal
9,172 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by senna1
I'm taking my mother on a Mediterranean cruise. Can she just take her pill organizer or will she have to take all the original prescription bottles?
As long as you have a copy of the prescription, you'll be fine with the pill organizer. As a note, bring more than you think you'll need, to allow for travel delays, as well as the occasional "Oops, I dropped it down the drain" situation

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#4
17,006 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
The State Department advises taking medications in their original prescription bottles, among a number of recommendations:

http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/t...ml#medications

Bringing Medications or Filling Prescriptions Abroad

A traveler going abroad with a preexisting medical problem should carry a letter from the attending physician, describing the medical condition and any prescription medications, including the generic names of prescribed drugs. Any medications being carried overseas should be left in their original containers and be clearly labeled. Travelers should check with the foreign embassy of the country they are visiting to make sure any required medications are not considered to be illegal narcotics. (A listing of foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. is available on the Department of State’s website at http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm. Foreign embassy and consulate contact information can also be found on the Country Specific Information for each country.)

If you wear eyeglasses, take an extra pair with you. Pack medicines and extra eyeglasses in your hand luggage so they will be available in case your checked luggage is lost. To be extra secure, pack a backup supply of medicines and an additional pair of eyeglasses in your checked luggage.

If you have allergies, reactions to certain medications, foods, or insect bites, or other unique medical problems, consider wearing a “medical alert” bracelet. You may also wish to carry a letter from your physician explaining required treatment should you become ill.

Information on filling a prescription abroad and other health issues may be found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/...ures_1215.html.
#5
Fredericksburg, va. USA
81,019 Posts
Joined May 2001
As long as the RX's won't be going ashore with her, and will stay on the ship, a daily organizer is fine. If there is something she'll need to bring ashore with her in quantity, then bring the bottle!
#6
81,207 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
We have had this 'chat' over and over.

Do what you want but there is no way I go through any airport especially when entering a foreign country with my medications in other than pharmacy bottles.

Most will have no problem at all but I don't want to be the one standing in the airport arguing with whoever it is that tells me they are tossing my needed meds. I cannot just not take them for my two week vacation.

If you Mom has to have these meds and can't risk losing them, be safe and take the pharmacy bottles. Yes, it's a nuisance but it's important.

You can read about 50 people who say don't worry about it but there is one who has had their pills dumped.
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#7
84,919 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
You should be fine taking the pills in a pill organizer.

To be on the safe side though ask the Pharmacy to give her smaller bottles that she can put the pills in that have the label on them.

Keith
#8
Melbourne, FL
7,795 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
there are meds and there are meds

stuff for high BP, diabetes, gout, cholesteral is not going to get you in hot water in normal quantities . . .

pain killers on the other hand . . . anything after aspirin could be a question

altho it is curious to note that you can buy over the counter products out of the US that are illegal to bring back in

so the way I read THIS is if you take controlled stuff out, in sufficient quantity to have a questionable amount to bring BACK, it is wize to have some documentation
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#9
Toronto, Canada
3,910 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
My first question is whether or not there's an airplane flight involved - I assume there will be and you're not cruising back from Europe as well. I definitely recommend taking the original prescription bottle for the airport more than for the cruise. I'm sure it's different for cruises with US embarkation and debarkation ports.

As an aside, should you find yourself in need of more meds while in Europe, I discovered some meds that require a prescription at home are available without a prescription in (at least some places in) Europe - but be sure to have the generic name of the drug, not just the brand name.
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#10
Canada
18,366 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
All you need is an over-zealous TSA agent to give you a hard time and BOOM, you are sitting off to the side in tears, trying to explain your situation. I'm serious. There was a post here some time ago about this very issue - member's MIL was hassled about her pills which were not in prescription bottles, but in a pill organizer. Very stressful situation as they tried to sort it all out.

My advice: ALWAYS keep your pills in their original bottles and then when you reach your destination you can take a few minutes and put them in your pill organizer.

Having said this, you will need to be more concerned about the airlines than about the cruise line. I have never been questioned about my pills while boarding a ship but flying is different, IMO.

Looks like my advice is different to most others' here. Oh well. This is what I will do to be comfortable and as stress-free as possible.

Have a great flight and cruise. The Med is spectacular.
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#11
Connecticut
10,892 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by cb at sea
As long as the RX's won't be going ashore with her, and will stay on the ship, a daily organizer is fine. If there is something she'll need to bring ashore with her in quantity, then bring the bottle!
Great suggestion -- but OP is flying to Europe, and will be bringing entire supply "ashore" upon landing. Why not follow US State Dept. recommendation?
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#12
The Big Tomato; i.e. Sacramento CA
7,406 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
While I've never been to Europe (well not since my late teens in the military, when I didn't need all the pills I do now), I too keep all my meds in their original bottles, some a 30-day supply and some a 90-day supply. I simply hold up a gal-size ziploc bag and sweep all the pill containers into the bag, then toss it into my carry-on.
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#13
Niagara Region, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Always make sure you have extras in case there is a delay getting home. You also need labelled containers or a copy of the prescription in case your Mother becomes ill and cannot speak for herself so that you can inform doctors what the medications are, dosage, etc.
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#14
Moon Township, Pa
23,137 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
I have personally seen too many people being pulled out of foreign Customs lines and have their luggage searched. When they found drugs in those days of the week containers, there was heck to pay. What might be considered an innocuous drug in the US, might be illegal in a foreign country. I've seen people's drugs dumped out on filthy tables and handled by officers. Do you want to take those drugs after some stranger touches them?

Just because you haven't experienced this, doesn't mean it can't happen. I personally saw an elderly couple, using those days of the week containers, being totally harassed by Customs officials in a foreign country. They were both in tears as the agents tore apart their luggages and everything in those bags. All because they didn't have properly labeled drugs.
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Darcie
#15
81,207 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by kitty9
I have personally seen too many people being pulled out of foreign Customs lines and have their luggage searched. When they found drugs in those days of the week containers, there was heck to pay. What might be considered an innocuous drug in the US, might be illegal in a foreign country. I've seen people's drugs dumped out on filthy tables and handled by officers. Do you want to take those drugs after some stranger touches them?

Just because you haven't experienced this, doesn't mean it can't happen. I personally saw an elderly couple, using those days of the week containers, being totally harassed by Customs officials in a foreign country. They were both in tears as the agents tore apart their luggages and everything in those bags. All because they didn't have properly labeled drugs.
Yes. They can do that and there are those who can tell you it happened to them or someone they know.

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#16
Canada
18,366 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by kitty9
I've seen people's drugs dumped out on filthy tables and handled by officers. Do you want to take those drugs after some stranger touches them?...
Yep, exactly.

There are those here and on other boards who say they do not need to have them in their labelled bottles but I, for one, will not tempt that situation. It's just so unneccesary, IMO.

Anyway, obviously one will make his or her own decision but to me it seems like a no-brainer.
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*I have fallen ill, so sadly, no more cruises.*

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#17
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,688 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
We have never had a problem with prescriptions in daily dose containers going between Canada and the US or the Caribbean to the US which we have done countless time. However in September, going to the UK, we are going to take our meds in the original prescription bottles per advice from the British High Commissioner to Canada.
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#18
Ontario, CA (The one WITH the Palm Trees!)
21,339 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
A Thought, what would happen if---

The pills weren't in a container but a ziploc baggie with the perscription label and cautions on it? Most of our meds even have a sticker describing what the pill looks like.
#19
Wisconsin
6,138 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I am one of those who has been stopped by an over-zealous TSA agent, and made to describe/identify each pill in that cute little pill organizer...

and nearly missed my plane. And having travelled overseas the last two years, I can confirm that, even with the pills now in their original bottles, with prescriptions on them, I've still been delayed while an agent has examined each one.

And these are simply high blood pressure meds, and an anti-spasm med (no, not a narcotic).

For me now it's a no-brainer. I take the meds in original bottles, with prescription attached, and have a copy of the prescription elsewhere, in case my pills are lost, dropped down the sink, whatever. For those that come in a big bottle, I go to my local pharmacy and ask, and they've always been willing to re-package the quantity that I'll need for the trip (plus one weeks worth -- to account for delays, which also have happened to me). They'll put the quantity in a smaller bottle and label it accordingly. All the bottles go into a zip bag which goes either in my purse or in the top of my carry-on, so I can take it out quickly and show any agent that might ask. While I acknowledge it shouldn't be a problem, I also just want to get through the airport, on the plane, and to my destination -- this is not a battle worth fighting.
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#20
4,516 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
I for one, am not taking any chances. My meds will be in the original bottles, in my carry-on and a copy of the thing that is stapled to the bag at the pharmacy will be in my checked bag. I think if there's a one in a thousand chance that I could run into a problem, why chance it. I know the pill bottles are bulky, but not bulky enough to leave behind and chance spending time explaining or time trying to replace them somewhere in Europe.