Last reply 1 year ago
Traveling and medication transportation?


I’m planning a one month trip to Vietnam for next year and I’m curious to know how you people would carry one month of medication supplies (more like 5 weeks of daily doses. One extra week for safety) since I don’t think I would be able to find my meds (or wouldn’t feel safe buying meds there because of counterfeiting). The weather might get hot at some point while traveling south and I was wondering if there was anything to keep my meds safe and at the right temperature?

I already know about Frio cooling wallets but I doubt they would be big or efficient enough. Any of you experimented with these and do they work well in 30°C + temperatures?

I also saw on a forum how a woman managed to get her meds in a thermos filled with ice packs and bubble wrap to avoid them from freezing. But that seems like a gamble and I wouldn’t want to risk losing my meds during the trip in case they freeze…

And what about the law, is there a maximum amount of medication that I can carry with me?

The thing is, I’d really want this trip to be an adventure and would love to backpack and stay in hostels most of the times. Also, this information would be useful to me for other things, like going on hiking trips away from civilization, rock climbing trips, etc… I’m still in good shape and so far, the transport and safety of my medication is the only thing holding me back.

So the big question I guess is: am I the only one concerned about this and is traveling with meds also a problem for other people? Is there a solution on the market that I just haven’t heard of? And what do you think would be the best solution for medication transportation, whether it already exists or not? Wait… that was 3 questions 😛

Thanks in advance!

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1 year ago

This is something that is holding me back as well 🙁 I don’t like having to ask about the availability and accessibility of fridges.

I think lots are concerend about this. An article today on ms news today:

Making Careful Travel Plans for MS Medications and Supplies

Worth glancing at, doesnt directly discuss what you are mentioning but it does mention something we do:
Be prepared with extra medications, such as prednisone, in the event of exacerbation.

1 year ago

I took a cooler bag with freezer blocks to keep my rebif cold for 2 long flights then was able to get them into a fridge

1 year ago

so, couple answers and more questions:

Answer to first question: yes I do worry about it but I generally think that there’s always a way if you plan it correctly. With that in mind Have you spoken to your ms nurse or neurologist regarding this, they may he able to provide solutions in terms of medication that you can travel with more easily, and also tell you how much medication you can get in one batch as I suspect it varies from trust to trust

As for travelling solutions it will depend on what is is and what it requires in terms of storage. What medication are you on/have you checked the data sheet to see what temperatures this can handle? In the past I’ve had airplane staff give me ice to keep things cool so I could keep it roughly in spec. I carried my injections in a cooler bag with liquid based freezer/fridge packs which would keep things cool for up to 12 hours which was plenty for main journey, these had come with the avonex when I was given it for the first time so I didn’t buy anything special at all.

Last year I went away for 3 months to South America and for most of it I was back packing. I spoke to my ms nurse to tell her what I was doing and arranged to have 3 months worth of my drug delivered ahead of my leaving – 3 months was actually stretching it because I was away 14 weeks and used up my emergency months pack at home as well. Because I’ve switched to tecfidera which is capsule based it was easier (although I did find myself stuffing boxes with the blister packs, which disintegrated somewhat in the rain, yes it rained, a lot). To be honest, hostels shouldn’t be that much of an issue as long as you find somewhere with a fridge in the kitchen (generally not a problem) and label it up as yours you won’t have much bother storing it once you get there. It’ll be travelling from one place to another that’s the issue.

TL;DR – check the info for the medication you’re on, speak to your MS team about it, and plan plan plan/remember to check accommodation amenities (I know it’s boring but if you don’t have to worry about whether your meds will be ok you can worry about having a good time)

Honestly, I had a whale of a time, and would absolutely recommend it to anyone. All you need is a bit of prep to get ready.

1 year ago

This has been a huge concern for me as I travel a fair amount to places that are warm and long flights. I’m definitely leaning towards tablets as that is one of my main concerns. I’m sure you can find ways around it. My Nurse actually said in some cases you may even be able to do a short ‘break’ from meds but of course each situation is different. Definitely ask the questions now and then enjoy your trip!

1 year ago

One other thing to consider is taking a letter of approval with you from your MS nurse so you do not get the meds seized by the airport staff!

1 year ago

What knotty says is true but in my experience no one’s interested, I even tried to declare my injections to security while flying to the states and they just looked at me like ‘yeah, and?’ But I did carry a paper copy letter for the avonex for 2 years like insurance. I haven’t been arsed with the paper copy for the tecfidera as it seems to cause more bother mentioning it. (I do have a copy of my letter on my phone regardless)

1 year ago

Hi @curiousmind,
I was in a similar situation to you and I felt pretty much the same way, but honestly it’s nothing to stress over and will be a such a minor thing in comparison to the experience you will have while travelling!
I went on a month long trip to Indonesia back in October last year. We traveled around Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok and a brief stay in Bangkok for three days before heading back home. I had three flights on my way over and two on the way back. We mainly stayed in hostels for a couple nights at a time. I am on Copaxone three times a week so I had to carry about 15 syringes with me for the trip. I managed to inject for about the first two weeks of my trip and then had to stop as the power went in my hostel for two days and I couldn’t keep them cool.
There are a couple of things I would suggest to you before you head off.
If you have a Copaxone Nurse I would get in contact with them. My Copaxone nurse was able to give me reusable ice packs and a travel bag for my syringes that also helped keep them cool. She also gave me a syringe cutter which meant I didn’t have to worry about a sharps box which saved so much space when packing! ( Finally she was able to give me a medication card for when I was travelling through airports with Capaxone. It explains what it is, what it’s used for, my name and passport number and it is stamped by my neurologist on the back. However as @thecuriosity already said nobody is particularly interested! I was never stopped or asked to explain what it was. She was also pretty reassuring too, she told me to do my best with my injections but it wasn’t the end of the world if I missed one or if I wasn’t able to inject for the whole trip…your main priority is not to stress and enjoy your trip.
MS shouldn’t impact on your travel insurance whatsoever. This was something that I was concerned about but it didn’t seem to have an impact on what I had to pay for cover in comparison to my friend I was travelling with.
I would suggest you bring some sort of thermometer so you can keep tabs on the temperature of your medication. It will give you piece of mind that they are ok to use and if they do go over the required temperature at least you can stop lugging them round with you.
Any of the places we stayed were more than accommodating with storing my medication in their fridge. There was one member of staff that asked me what it was but that was curiosity more than anything else I think. I also asked one of the local coffee shops could I chill my icepacks in their freezer and they didn’t mind so don’t be afraid to just ask! I talked to a lot of people who had been to Vietnam before going to Bali and they only had nice things to say about the people so I’m sure they will accommodate you.
You will have an amazing time I promise! I was worried about bringing my injections with me but honestly once I got there it was the last thing on my mind. I took it for as long as I could and didn’t stress out when I couldn’t take them any longer, it’s not the end of the world if you are in good health and generally looking after yourself apart from that.
Sorry that was such a long answer but I hope it helps! If I can help you out with any other questions just ask 🙂

1 year ago

Wow, thanks for all your kind answers! It really encourages me to go for it!

Ok, @thecuriosity so let’s say I keep my meds cool in hostels fridges, would you think it’s safe for me to leave them there while I’m going out to explore the world? I mean, if the weather is hot, I wouldn’t want to carry my meds around all the time and would leave them at the hostel if that’s an option.

And also, I was surprised when you wrote that you had your medication delivered to you, I didn’t know that was possible. I will definitely check if that kind of service isn available in Canada. Is it expensive?

And @jenny4hughes please don’t be sorry I enjoyed reading all of your answer and it definitely helps! It gives me confidence that I can do it too. I’m on Copaxone too and a friend of mine who’s a pharmacist told me that this medicine could be kept under 30°C for 30 days and still be ok.

Good news, good news! Thanks to everyone for your support!

1 year ago

@curiousmind you’ll find that most people are pretty respectful of others stuff if left in fridges (most hostels insist people label their stuff and date it)

I have had both my Avonex and Tecfidera delivered to my home? My understanding was that was what we do, certainly NHS does as they spend a lot of money so they want to make sure it gets to you safe. I pay for the NHS through my taxes so no; it doesn’t cost me anything. These drugs help me work to pay for the NHS, so I think that’s a fair trade!

Anyway; the important thing is to let your neuro team know your plans so they can make arrangements for you to get the medication you need for the trip!

I say go for it! We don’t get to pick the hand we’re dealt but we can make the most of it and travelling makes you grateful for what you have.

1 year ago

@thecuriosity Of course, delivered to your home. I think I misread your last post as I thought you had them delivered to you directly in South America so you wouldn’t have to carry them all at once 😉

My bad!

1 year ago

@curiousmind no worries, we got a full 3 months delivery arranged for the week before I flew out to Rio, and that definitely helped as it meant I could pack around the biggest single thing I needed to bring with me. Still managed to squash the boxes though :/ oh well.

Hope you get it sorted out because it will be a great experience!

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