Travel pharmacy

Latest update: - Authors: Mieke Croughs, Ula Maniewski-Kelner

Checklist

Maintenance medication

Take a large supply of your maintenance medication and contraceptive pills with you and distribute them in different places.

Malaria prevention

Discuss with your doctor whether malaria tablets are recommended.

Diarrhoea prevention and treatment

Insects and ticks

Skin care

  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Disinfectant (iso-Betadine or chlorhexidine)
  • Cortisone ointment
  • Tick forceps, tweezers

Other travel medicines

  • Antifungal agent (vaginal, skin)
  • Antihistamine
  • Decongestant nasal spray and/or tablets
  • Laxative
  • Medication for travel sickness
  • Painkiller (paracetamol)
  • Vomiting remedy

Thrombosis prevention

  • Support stockings: in case of increased thrombosis risk
  • Blood thinner: on doctor's advice

Altitude sickness

Acetazolamide if you will be staying at a height of over 3000 meters

Also think about

  • Digital thermometer
  • Bandage material
  • Condoms
  • Good sunglasses
  • Spare glasses if you wear glasses or contact lenses

Points of attention

Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist what you should take with you. This depends on factors such as the type of journey that you are undertaking.

Medical certificate

Take a medical certificate or medication summary with you, stating the generic names of the medicines that you need to take. This is useful if you need to consult a doctor, if you lose your medication or during a customs inspection.

Packaging

Take medicines with you in the original packaging. Divide your medication over various pieces of hand luggage, so that you have spare medication if some of your baggage is lost.

Medical declaration for narcotics

Some medicines are considered to be narcotics. This applies, for example, to sleeping pills, some painkillers and ADHD medication. The 'List of narcotic drugs under international control' tells you which medicines this applies to. If you take any of these medicines, then you need a specific medical declaration: 

  • In the case of Schengen countries this is a Schengen Declaration, completed and signed by your doctor.
  • For travel beyond the Schengen zone, it is best to contact the embassy of your destination country. Do this at least six weeks prior to departure, because it can take a long time to get all the documentation in order. Severe punishments apply for the illegal importation of these medicines in some countries, for example the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Syringes

If you need to carry injection needles with you, then you also need a signed declaration from your doctor for air travel.

Storage

Some medicines cannot be stored at very high or low temperatures. Never leave medication lying in a car if it is warm or very cold. 
Ointments, creams and suppositories can melt or freeze, making them unusable. 
Ask your pharmacist for advice. 

Adjusting the dose

The dose of some medicines must be adjusted if you are ill or in case of diarrhoea.
Sometimes the intake schedule has to be adjusted to the time of day for flights to the west or east.
Discuss this with your doctor.

Fake medicines

Take into consideration that fake medicines are sold in some countries. Only buy medication from reliable pharmacies. Contact your travel insurance company to find out more about where to go.

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