What Medications to Take While Traveling?

What Medications to Take While Traveling

A correctly assembled first-aid kit can save a vacation, and this thing is as necessary for a trip as a passport and a bank card. But the first-aid kit causes more questions. What should you take with? How to transport drugs across the border? How to buy the right drug in another country and not overpay for branded medicines?

Trust Pharmacy has compiled a first-aid kit, which includes everything you need and does not take up much space in your luggage. Learn about all the intricacies of assembling a first-aid kit for a journey to the sea and on any other vacation and save a list of medicines that should always be with you.

Traveler’s first aid kit. Minimum required

A first-aid kit on the road is similar to insurance: you hope that you will not need it but you take it anyway. For those who are not ready to carry half a suitcase of medicines but do not want to run in search for pharmacies on vacation, we have compiled a basic first-aid kit for one person for 2-3 weeks:

  1. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) – Analgesic, antipyretic;
  2. Drotaverine – Muscle cramps;
  3. Polysorb – Sorbent: with food poisoning;
  4. Creon – Digestive enzyme: with overeating, heaviness in the abdomen, bloating;
  5. Metoclopramide (Reglan, Reglan) – With vomiting, including interfering with medication;
  6. Imodium (Loperamide) – With diarrhea;
  7. Chlorhexidine, patch and bandage – Wound treatment antiseptic;
  8. Chloraseptic Mxs, SoundHealth Honey Lemon Cough Drops, Sucrets – Antiseptic for sore throat.

Ibuprofen is the most popular anesthetic. But if you are used to other painkillers, you’d better add them to the list. Please note that metamizole in many countries is sold by prescription or is completely prohibited due to the risk of developing agranulocytosis. If you are taking Ketorolac, you’d better not take it abroad without a prescription.

Some travelers carry antibiotics of a wide spectrum of action (for example, amoxicillin) in a travel first aid kit. This makes sense if you cannot buy an antibiotic without a prescription in your country and you don’t want to go to a local doctor but prefer to consult your doctor by phone.
If you are going to the sea, add to the base list of medicines a sunburn remedy, for example, Panthenol.

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A first aid kit at a border crossing

Each country has its own rules for importing medicines. Narcotic, psychotropic and potent substances are under special control in all countries but their lists vary. Medicines that are readily available in your country may only be sold by prescription abroad, considered narcotic or psychotropic, and even be forbidden.

The good news: basic medicines usually do not raise questions at customs. However, if the drug is a prescription, then they may ask for a prescription or a certificate from a doctor. Look for the rules of various countries on customs websites.

If the drug is a prescription but is not included in the list of especially controlled ones, then the prescription may be written in the language of your country – the main thing is that it is correctly filled. The prescription must have the doctor’s signature and seal of the medical institution, as well as the active substance in Latin (not the trade name!), dosage and duration of administration. For example:

Rp.: Tab. Clarithromycin 0.5 N 14
D.S. Take orally 1 tablet 3 times a day with a glass of water.

You can ask the doctor to write in the needed language your name and comment about taking the medicine.

If you are taking a medicine from the list of potent or narcotic and psychotropic substances, check if it is allowed in the country of destination and what are the conditions of import. Usually, there are quantity restrictions: you can import only a 1-3 month supply of medicine. To pass the customs you may need a prescription written in English or local language, or a notarized translation.

How to buy medicine by prescription abroad

Foreign pharmacies usually accept prescriptions with the name of the substance in Latin. But according to the rules, if a doctor is not certified in the country of your destination, then his/her prescription is not valid. Therefore, in strict countries, you will have to look for a doctor who will write out a new prescription.
Your local doctor may give you your prescription based on yours, but not always. It sometimes happens that an examination or medical documentation is required, translated into English and certified by a notary, especially when it comes to drugs from the list of controlled ones.

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How to find an analog of your medicine abroad?

According to the list of active substances, you can select cheap analogs of expensive drugs.

Symptomatic medications, such as colds and flu, light painkillers, antipyretics, are sold over the counter. You can also buy more specific non-prescription drugs, even if you don’t know a word in the local language. To do this, you need to know the international name of the drug.

Since 1953, the World Health Organization has been working to ensure that all active substances (i.e. the active components of drugs) receive International Nonproprietary Names (INN) – unique names that are understood throughout the world. INN lists are updated every year. Now there are more than 8,000 INNs, and each name in Latin contains equivalents in English, Russian, French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.

We show by example how to use the list of generic names of medicines abroad. Let’s say you need Motrin. If you have the instructions, look into them: they always indicate the international non-proprietary name above – «ibuprofen». If you have no instructions, they can be downloaded on the Internet. Or open the browser on your smartphone and type “Motrin international nonproprietary name”. You will see the result in a second.

So, you found out that the active substance of Motrin is ibuprofen. Go to any pharmacy abroad and tell the pharmacist that you need ibuprofen. If the pharmacist does not understand you, translate the name into the desired language (using an offline translator in your phone) and show it in a pharmacy. In most cases, this works.

Please note that you need a prescription to buy many medicines, including antibiotics: either from your doctor indicating the active substance in Latin, or from a local doctor.

Checklist: how to assemble a perfect travel kit

  1. Put in the first-aid kit all “your” medicines that you take regularly;
  2. Take only those drugs that you know how to use and to which you definitely do not have contraindications;
  3. Take the instructions. In the case of an emergency, you can easily get nervous and forget about the dosage and compatibility with other drugs. The full version of the instructions can be stored on your smartphone, and put a list of medicines with brief explanations and a regimen in the first aid kit. To ensure that the important sheet does not tear, laminate it or simply tape it on both sides;
  4. Check expiration dates. Make sure that the medicines are not expired, especially if you take them from a home first aid kit, which sometimes dusts for years;
  5. Read the storage conditions. Take a look at the instructions and make sure that the medicine does not deteriorate on the trip. For example, suppositories melt at temperatures above +77° F, while others need to be kept cold. You may need a cooler bag – don’t be alarmed, they are the size of a makeup bag;
  6. If possible, replace liquid preparations with tablets and powders. Tablets, powders and capsules weigh less and do not fill the entire suitcase. If the medicine needs to be taken in liquid form, try to buy it in plastic bottles rather than glass ones;
  7. Make sure the open packaging has a name and expiration date. The name of the medicine may not be visible on a started blister of tablets, so you’d better replace it with a whole one. Thus you will avoid unnecessary questions at the customs and do not forget what kind of drug they took with you;
  8. Be careful with weight savings. Throwing out bulk cardboard boxes is a good idea. But if you fly abroad, all medicines must be easily identifiable, so that the customs officer does not suffer from guesses about what you are carrying. The blister should contain at least the name of the drug, but you’d better leave the medicine in its original packaging;
  9. Take prescription drugs with a margin. Other countries most often allow importing a 3-month drug supply. Even if you are not going to travel for such a long time, take life-saving drugs (for example, insulin) with a margin: the flight may be suddenly postponed or you will have to delay on a business trip;
  10. Do not forget the prescription or a certificate from the doctor — you will show them to the customs if they have any questions.
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Category: Health Care

Tags: health problems, healthy lifestyle, medication