Nov 17, 2016

Humana Pharmacy pharmacist Kevin Kriegel, PharmD, shares his strategies for packing and traveling with medicine during the busy holiday season.

Airport security 

1. Many people don’t know that medicine can be kept in a carry-on. In fact, this is recommended to avoid issues with theft or loss. 

2. Bring a medicine list from your doctor or healthcare professional listing your disease states and the prescriptions you currently take, in case airport security asks. Many physicians will give you a discharge summary after your visit that would serve this purpose. 

3. Keep large liquids in their original prescription bottles. This is important as medically necessary items are allowed to exceed the typical 100ml airline security restriction. 

4. While these rules apply to travel in the United States, laws may differ in foreign countries. In order to ensure your medicine can stay with you, it’s important to check if there are any restrictions that might hinder you when you arrive at your destination. Ask your airline about any such restrictions. Your hotel’s concierge might also know. 

What to do if your medicine is lost or damaged while traveling

1. Be sure to bring enough medicine for your entire vacation. Even bringing extra doses is recommended. 

2. If you do misplace or damage your medicine, having written prescriptions can save a lot of hassle. 

3. Pharmacies can transfer prescriptions between them. Have the contact information for your pharmacy with you as that will help your destination pharmacy fill your prescription.

Storing medicine at your hotel, on a cruise ship, etc. 

1. Be aware of any storage precautions for your medicine, including exposure to certain temperatures, light, or moisture. Ask your pharmacist how these weather conditions might affect your medicine. For example, people might not know that once opened, certain insulins can be stored at room temperature for a set number of days. 

2. Use the same cautions you would at home. For young children, safety caps can be utilized to prevent unintended ingestion. If you’re staying in a room with a safe, that might be a good place to keep your medicine. 

How to stay on track with your medicine when traveling

1. Don’t let your medicine take a backseat during the holiday season. Focus on taking medicine as prescribed in the weeks leading up to your vacation. Establishing good habits can help you stay on track when traveling.

2. Just because you’re on vacation and out of your normal routine, many chronic conditions don’t take a break. Medicine non-adherence contributes to an estimated two-thirds of hospitalizations. Medicine adherence plays a big role in staying healthy and out of the hospital. 

3. Use a reminder app like Medisafe to help you take medication on schedule. 

4. Remember: the holidays are a time to relax and have fun. But don’t take a break from your medication. Take all doses as prescribed, and on time. 

Kevin Kriegel is a pharmacist with Humana Pharmacy®. He works in Clinical Programs where he strives to increase the quality of drug therapy for his patients.