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flying with refrigerated medicine


F19810
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My next trip is a river cruise with Amawaterways and in March, I started taking medicine that has to be kept at refrigerated temperature.  Does anybody have any suggestions on what I can do to keep it cold during a 12 hr 30 min flight with a 2 hr layover and then a 3 hr flight, not to mention the time to/ from the airport?  Airlines will not put it in the refrigerator and I don't want to keep asking for ice ( but will if I have to).

Thanks

Judy

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5 hours ago, F19810 said:

My next trip is a river cruise with Amawaterways and in March, I started taking medicine that has to be kept at refrigerated temperature.  Does anybody have any suggestions on what I can do to keep it cold during a 12 hr 30 min flight with a 2 hr layover and then a 3 hr flight, not to mention the time to/ from the airport?  Airlines will not put it in the refrigerator and I don't want to keep asking for ice ( but will if I have to).

Thanks

Judy

I had this issue a few years ago.  I got a small, insulated, soft-sided container (around the size of a lunch box, but shaped more like a cube).  It had room for some thin frozen ice packs and for the medicine.  It worked out OK, but maybe bring some zip lock bags in case you have to add ice cubes if the ice packs thaw too much.  I would also recommend bringing some sort of copy of the prescription, and/or a note from the doctor, specifying that you need to carry this with you and keep it cold.  I think I remember security checking the contents of the container, but they did not give me a problem.

 

You might find some options here https://www.amazon.com/s?k=cold+pack+for+medicine+travel&crid=3SAEKTK8FZB51&sprefix=cold+pack+for+medicine%2Caps%2C229&ref=nb_sb_ss_midas-iss-sm_1_22

 

Tom & Judy

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9 hours ago, Daisi said:

I guess you can't find the topic you started a while ago...here's a link in case there was any info you wanted on it. 

 

 

Thanks, I thought that I had asked this before but didn't see it.  So then I thought that I had asked on a different forum.

Judy

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8 minutes ago, F19810 said:

Does the Frio bag keep the meds at 8-10 degrees centigrade (about 45-50 Fahrenheit )?


We’ve never measured the temperature, but my husband thinks it does. He’s had it last a couple days, I think. Never had a problem gets meds from California to Europe.

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We fly overseas with Humira, which must stay between 36 and 46 degrees.  I believe Frio is designed for insulin, so may work well for your 45-50 requirement.  

 

Here is what has worked for me over the years:

 

Get a really good soft side cooler.  If you have the cash to throw around, Yeti makes a lunch box size that is ideal.  Arctic Zone also excellent though pricey.  Otherwise, a Coleman or similar can work.  

 

Your meds may be shipped to you with those gel freeze packs.  This is what you want to reuse for travel.  They stay frozen longer than ice packs you can buy in a store.  If you get your meds from a pharmacy and don't have any packs, ask around your friends/neighbors.  Someone will get either meds or a meal service shipped to them, and will have tons they'd love to share.  

 

Get a remote temp sensor.  I like this one for reliability https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009Y7RPS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Important step:  precool your little cooler.  Put it in the fridge the day before.  Then take it out and put your ice pack in it several hours before you put your meds in. 

 

Put your meds in last minute.  Have your temp sensor as close to your meds as possible (ie, in the shot box if you can) and not right against an icepack.   Keep the monitor portion where you can check it easily.  (I use an outside pocket of my cooler.)

 

If all goes well, you should be able to keep a stable temp for up to 12 hours.  But keep an eye on the monitor.  Always take ziplocks along in case you need to add ice.  (Keep in mind that in European hotels, ice can be hard to come by, so don't push it to the last degree.)

 

On a plane, it is cooler in the overhead bin than under your seat, and cooler in the back of the overhead bin than closer to the aisle.  But if you're likely to forget what you don't see, maybe don't push it all the way to the wall.  Alert the flight attendant that you might need ice several hours in and explain why.  They can get cranky if you're asking for it out of the blue when service is off and everyone is asleep.    

 

Finally, you may want to play with your cooler and ice packs a few times without your meds.  Do the precool and ice pack load, put the sensor in an empty med box, and watch the monitor over the course of a day.  Make notes about how stable it is.  Try different numbers and arrangements of ice packs.  I even started with several different cooler brands, tags on, and returned the poor-performing ones.  You will feel much more comfortable transporting meds if you have data to reassure you that they are ok.

 

I know this all sounds like a lot.  For me, if I had to replace a shot it would be several thousand dollars.  Not to mention that a trip could be ruined if the meds didn't work.  So it's worth it.  And it gets easier every time you do it!

 

Finally, you may want to reach out to your river cruise company and see if they can provide you with a medical fridge in your cabin.  This is a small appliance that will work better than the mini fridge/cooler that is standard. 

 

I hope this was helpful and not overload!

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11 minutes ago, Fa-Li said:

We fly overseas with Humira, which must stay between 36 and 46 degrees.  I believe Frio is designed for insulin, so may work well for your 45-50 requirement.  

 

Here is what has worked for me over the years:

 

Get a really good soft side cooler.  If you have the cash to throw around, Yeti makes a lunch box size that is ideal.  Arctic Zone also excellent though pricey.  Otherwise, a Coleman or similar can work.  

 

Your meds may be shipped to you with those gel freeze packs.  This is what you want to reuse for travel.  They stay frozen longer than ice packs you can buy in a store.  If you get your meds from a pharmacy and don't have any packs, ask around your friends/neighbors.  Someone will get either meds or a meal service shipped to them, and will have tons they'd love to share.  

 

Get a remote temp sensor.  I like this one for reliability https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009Y7RPS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Important step:  precool your little cooler.  Put it in the fridge the day before.  Then take it out and put your ice pack in it several hours before you put your meds in. 

 

Put your meds in last minute.  Have your temp sensor as close to your meds as possible (ie, in the shot box if you can) and not right against an icepack.   Keep the monitor portion where you can check it easily.  (I use an outside pocket of my cooler.)

 

If all goes well, you should be able to keep a stable temp for up to 12 hours.  But keep an eye on the monitor.  Always take ziplocks along in case you need to add ice.  (Keep in mind that in European hotels, ice can be hard to come by, so don't push it to the last degree.)

 

On a plane, it is cooler in the overhead bin than under your seat, and cooler in the back of the overhead bin than closer to the aisle.  But if you're likely to forget what you don't see, maybe don't push it all the way to the wall.  Alert the flight attendant that you might need ice several hours in and explain why.  They can get cranky if you're asking for it out of the blue when service is off and everyone is asleep.    

 

Finally, you may want to play with your cooler and ice packs a few times without your meds.  Do the precool and ice pack load, put the sensor in an empty med box, and watch the monitor over the course of a day.  Make notes about how stable it is.  Try different numbers and arrangements of ice packs.  I even started with several different cooler brands, tags on, and returned the poor-performing ones.  You will feel much more comfortable transporting meds if you have data to reassure you that they are ok.

 

I know this all sounds like a lot.  For me, if I had to replace a shot it would be several thousand dollars.  Not to mention that a trip could be ruined if the meds didn't work.  So it's worth it.  And it gets easier every time you do it!

 

Finally, you may want to reach out to your river cruise company and see if they can provide you with a medical fridge in your cabin.  This is a small appliance that will work better than the mini fridge/cooler that is standard. 

 

I hope this was helpful and not overload!

Thanks, that is helpful.  I'm thinking of buying both the Frio bag and a medical cooler that looks like a thermos. It comes with a gel pack and a lid that acts like a cooler when plugged into a USB port.  I can even plug it into a phone charger.  One problem with relying on gel packs is that I will not be able to refreeze it.  Thanks for the suggestions of buying a remote temp sensor.

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31 minutes ago, F19810 said:

Thanks, that is helpful.  I'm thinking of buying both the Frio bag and a medical cooler that looks like a thermos. It comes with a gel pack and a lid that acts like a cooler when plugged into a USB port.  I can even plug it into a phone charger.  One problem with relying on gel packs is that I will not be able to refreeze it.  Thanks for the suggestions of buying a remote temp sensor.

Good point.  I have been able to ask cabin stewards and hotel staff to refreeze for me.  But also have not needed to keep a large supply cold over more than a week or so.  The USB port is brilliant.  You should be able to keep it going either with plane outlets or even an Anker portable charger.  I may need to up my game 🙂

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1 hour ago, Fa-Li said:

Good point.  I have been able to ask cabin stewards and hotel staff to refreeze for me.  But also have not needed to keep a large supply cold over more than a week or so.  The USB port is brilliant.  You should be able to keep it going either with plane outlets or even an Anker portable charger.  I may need to up my game 🙂

This is the first time traveling with refrigerated meds, I don't know if the hotel/cruise staff will refreeze the gel packs.  The Frio bag will be an emergency back up.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/15/2021 at 6:16 PM, Fa-Li said:

We fly overseas with Humira, which must stay between 36 and 46 degrees.  I believe Frio is designed for insulin, so may work well for your 45-50 requirement.  

 

Here is what has worked for me over the years:

 

Get a really good soft side cooler.  If you have the cash to throw around, Yeti makes a lunch box size that is ideal.  Arctic Zone also excellent though pricey.  Otherwise, a Coleman or similar can work.  

 

Your meds may be shipped to you with those gel freeze packs.  This is what you want to reuse for travel.  They stay frozen longer than ice packs you can buy in a store.  If you get your meds from a pharmacy and don't have any packs, ask around your friends/neighbors.  Someone will get either meds or a meal service shipped to them, and will have tons they'd love to share.  

 

Get a remote temp sensor.  I like this one for reliability https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009Y7RPS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Important step:  precool your little cooler.  Put it in the fridge the day before.  Then take it out and put your ice pack in it several hours before you put your meds in. 

 

Put your meds in last minute.  Have your temp sensor as close to your meds as possible (ie, in the shot box if you can) and not right against an icepack.   Keep the monitor portion where you can check it easily.  (I use an outside pocket of my cooler.)

 

If all goes well, you should be able to keep a stable temp for up to 12 hours.  But keep an eye on the monitor.  Always take ziplocks along in case you need to add ice.  (Keep in mind that in European hotels, ice can be hard to come by, so don't push it to the last degree.)

 

On a plane, it is cooler in the overhead bin than under your seat, and cooler in the back of the overhead bin than closer to the aisle.  But if you're likely to forget what you don't see, maybe don't push it all the way to the wall.  Alert the flight attendant that you might need ice several hours in and explain why.  They can get cranky if you're asking for it out of the blue when service is off and everyone is asleep.    

 

Finally, you may want to play with your cooler and ice packs a few times without your meds.  Do the precool and ice pack load, put the sensor in an empty med box, and watch the monitor over the course of a day.  Make notes about how stable it is.  Try different numbers and arrangements of ice packs.  I even started with several different cooler brands, tags on, and returned the poor-performing ones.  You will feel much more comfortable transporting meds if you have data to reassure you that they are ok.

 

I know this all sounds like a lot.  For me, if I had to replace a shot it would be several thousand dollars.  Not to mention that a trip could be ruined if the meds didn't work.  So it's worth it.  And it gets easier every time you do it!

 

Finally, you may want to reach out to your river cruise company and see if they can provide you with a medical fridge in your cabin.  This is a small appliance that will work better than the mini fridge/cooler that is standard. 

 

I hope this was helpful and not overload!

Hi.  I read with interest your input regarding traveling with Humira.  I also have to travel with Humira, and feel it limits how long a trip we can take.  I have to take it once a week, and as you know, it is only good for 2 weeks unrefrigerated.  You indicate that, with the cooling system you describe, “you should be able to keep a stable temp for up to 12 hours”. 

 

Are you comfortable that you will always be able to arrive at your location within 12 hours?  What about airport delays?  Trips to further afield locations (for ex, to Asia) that take longer than 12 hours.  And what do you do once you arrive at your location?  Do you immediately go to the ship and place it in the refrigerator in the cabin?  We generally stay at a hotel at least 1 night (and often more) prior to the cruise.  Do you ever stay in hotels prior to the cruise?  If so, how do you handle that, and the subsequent “transfer’ of the Humira to the ship?

 

I have a cooling “system” that similarly allows me to keep the medication cool for about 12 hours (and I have a temperature sensor that I also use).  However, I have found that the 12 hours doesn’t really help out that much with being able to extend trips.  I have searched for years to find a way to travel and keep Humira at the necessary temperature for longer periods of time, without success.  I find both the manufacturer and specialty pharmacy surprisingly unhelpful in providing help with this.

 

Any other thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

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43 minutes ago, Sweetpea711423 said:

 

Hi.  I read with interest your input regarding traveling with Humira.  I also have to travel with Humira, and feel it limits how long a trip we can take.  I have to take it once a week, and as you know, it is only good for 2 weeks unrefrigerated.  You indicate that, with the cooling system you describe, “you should be able to keep a stable temp for up to 12 hours”. 

 

Are you comfortable that you will always be able to arrive at your location within 12 hours?  What about airport delays?  Trips to further afield locations (for ex, to Asia) that take longer than 12 hours.  And what do you do once you arrive at your location?  Do you immediately go to the ship and place it in the refrigerator in the cabin?  We generally stay at a hotel at least 1 night (and often more) prior to the cruise.  Do you ever stay in hotels prior to the cruise?  If so, how do you handle that, and the subsequent “transfer’ of the Humira to the ship?

 

I have a cooling “system” that similarly allows me to keep the medication cool for about 12 hours (and I have a temperature sensor that I also use).  However, I have found that the 12 hours doesn’t really help out that much with being able to extend trips.  I have searched for years to find a way to travel and keep Humira at the necessary temperature for longer periods of time, without success.  I find both the manufacturer and specialty pharmacy surprisingly unhelpful in providing help with this.

 

Any other thoughts you might have would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

I forgot I wanted to ask an additional question.

 

You mention that replacing replacing Humira is expensive, and it is.  However, the problem that I found, even if I were willing to take the risk and have to pay for replacement medication, is that I can't find anyway to have it sent to me overseas.  Have you discovered a way to do that?

 

Thanks

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1 hour ago, Sweetpea711423 said:

I forgot I wanted to ask an additional question.

 

You mention that replacing replacing Humira is expensive, and it is.  However, the problem that I found, even if I were willing to take the risk and have to pay for replacement medication, is that I can't find anyway to have it sent to me overseas.  Have you discovered a way to do that?

 

Thanks

Check out the 4 all family insulin cooler.  https://4allfamily.com.   looks like a thermos and can keep things cool with the gel pack for many hours There is also a lid that you can put on that is a cooler when you plug it into a usb port or 10,000amp phone charger.  I'm getting the $139.99 one for my trip to Jordan and Egypt.  On the plane, I will keep it plugged into the usb port.  In the hotel, I hope to use the fridge and in between I will use the phone charge.  I plane on traveling with 2 phone chargers.  I will ask the tour guide if there is a way to freeze the gel pack.  I'm having difficulty finding out how long I can keep my meds (Pegasys) outside of fridge temperature and this is the best that I could find.  Hope this helps you.

Judy

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55 minutes ago, F19810 said:

Check out the 4 all family insulin cooler.  https://4allfamily.com.   looks like a thermos and can keep things cool with the gel pack for many hours There is also a lid that you can put on that is a cooler when you plug it into a usb port or 10,000amp phone charger.  I'm getting the $139.99 one for my trip to Jordan and Egypt.  On the plane, I will keep it plugged into the usb port.  In the hotel, I hope to use the fridge and in between I will use the phone charge.  I plane on traveling with 2 phone chargers.  I will ask the tour guide if there is a way to freeze the gel pack.  I'm having difficulty finding out how long I can keep my meds (Pegasys) outside of fridge temperature and this is the best that I could find.  Hope this helps you.

Judy

So kind of you to reply.  I'll check into the things you mention.  Thanks.

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@Sweetpea711423  We have gone more than twelve hours with the humira, and at that point were adding ice in zip locks to the cooler to maintain temp.  Not ideal, but with monitoring it can be done.  Again, I find it helpful to let people in a position to help (flight attendant, hotel kitchen) know ahead of time that I may be calling on them for ice.  On cruise ships/river cruises, and in hotels, I have found staff more than willing to put my gel packs in their freezer and then return it to me.  European hotel ice melts quickly - I think they don't freeze it as cold? - so I have on occasion taken a zip lock with me to dinner and asked the waiter to fill it with ice just before we leave.  This has gotten me through a night on several occasions.  

 

It certainly creates a "worry tax" on travel to have to constantly be checking and adjusting.   But on the other hand, before humira, my daughter was in a wheelchair, which added its own challenges to travel.  I hope it's been as much of a miracle drug for you as it has been for her, to make all the hassle worth it.  

 

To answer your other question, no, I have not figured out how to get humira shipped overseas.  We tried a couple of years ago when we did a two week family trip before leaving dd in Italy for another month of study abroad, and just hit a brick wall.  Ended up taking the whole six week supply with us and I have never breathed such a sigh of relief as when we safely deposited the remaining shots in the fridge at the student housing!

 

Finally, I too will be looking into the various coolers suggested here.  But often coolers customized for insulin will not work for humira, as it must be kept at colder temps than insulin.  

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6 hours ago, Fa-Li said:

@Sweetpea711423  We have gone more than twelve hours with the humira, and at that point were adding ice in zip locks to the cooler to maintain temp.  Not ideal, but with monitoring it can be done.  Again, I find it helpful to let people in a position to help (flight attendant, hotel kitchen) know ahead of time that I may be calling on them for ice.  On cruise ships/river cruises, and in hotels, I have found staff more than willing to put my gel packs in their freezer and then return it to me.  European hotel ice melts quickly - I think they don't freeze it as cold? - so I have on occasion taken a zip lock with me to dinner and asked the waiter to fill it with ice just before we leave.  This has gotten me through a night on several occasions.  

 

It certainly creates a "worry tax" on travel to have to constantly be checking and adjusting.   But on the other hand, before humira, my daughter was in a wheelchair, which added its own challenges to travel.  I hope it's been as much of a miracle drug for you as it has been for her, to make all the hassle worth it.  

 

To answer your other question, no, I have not figured out how to get humira shipped overseas.  We tried a couple of years ago when we did a two week family trip before leaving dd in Italy for another month of study abroad, and just hit a brick wall.  Ended up taking the whole six week supply with us and I have never breathed such a sigh of relief as when we safely deposited the remaining shots in the fridge at the student housing!

 

Finally, I too will be looking into the various coolers suggested here.  But often coolers customized for insulin will not work for humira, as it must be kept at colder temps than insulin.  

Check out the 4 all family coolers, they keep things at 2-8 C (35-46F).  I haven't gotten mine yet, deciding between the $139 or $199 version.  I called Genetech, the makers of Pegasys) and they said that Pegasys can only be at room temp for 24 hrs so these 4 all family coolers look like my best option. 

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57 minutes ago, F19810 said:

Check out the 4 all family coolers, they keep things at 2-8 C (35-46F).  I haven't gotten mine yet, deciding between the $139 or $199 version.  I called Genetech, the makers of Pegasys) and they said that Pegasys can only be at room temp for 24 hrs so these 4 all family coolers look like my best option. 

Thanks!  That is the temp range for humira.  I will definitely look into them!

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