Infectious Disease Book

Travel Medicine

  • Medication-Related Travel Precautions


Medication-Related Travel Precautions

Aka: Medication-Related Travel Precautions, Medication-Related Travel Restrictions, Medication Naming Confusion Internationally, Drug Name Mix-Ups in Different Countries
  1. Precautions: International traveler's must be careful regarding prescription names
    1. Same drug name may represent completely different drug
      1. Allegro is Frovatriptan in Germany
      2. Ambyen is Amiodarone in U.K.
      3. Cartia (Diltiazem in U.S.) is Aspirin in Israel
      4. Dilacor (Diltiazem in U.S.) is Digoxin in Serbia
      5. Flomax is the NSAID morniflumate in Italy
      6. Norpramin (Despipramine in U.S.) is Omeprazole in Spain
      7. Zertaline is Azithromycin in Mexico
    2. Common medications may have unrecongnizable names in other countries
      1. Albuterol is Salbutamol in Canada and Europe
      2. Acetaminophen is often Paracetamol outside the U.S.
    3. References
      1. (2016) Presc Lett 23(7):42
  2. Precautions: Security Restrictions (e.g. TSA)
    1. Security rules vary by country
    2. Medications may be carried on plane (even >3 oz for medically required drugs)
      1. Insulin
      2. Syringes and Needles
      3. Eye drops
    3. Protocol
      1. Keep liquid medications in the original bottle and declare them at security
      2. XRay screening does not affect medications
  3. Prevention
    1. Carry an up-to-date list of medications while traveling
      1. List should include both generic and trade names
    2. Consider carrying a written prescription for each chronic medication
    3. Attempt to keep medications on same schedule despite time zone changes
      1. Time critical medications should gradually be transitioned in 1-2 hour increments per day
    4. Be aware of medications that are illegal in country of visit (may result in arrest and imprisonment)
      1. Pseudophedrine is illegal in Mexico
      2. Amphetamines including Adderall are illegal in Japan
  4. References
    1. (2005) Presc Lett 12(4): 19
    2. (2012) Presc Lett 19(8): 47

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