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Bringing Prescription Drugs into Italy

Hi all
I’ve been told I may need a letter to bring my rx’s into the country. I have all of the usual types of meds, with one exception , Adderall. I will only carry what I need for a 13 day trip. Should I expect any problems w customs? I could get a letter from my PCP stating that I do take this drug w supervision. Thanks in Advance.

Posted by
23431 posts

Custom could not care less. Customs is general a walk through the green door -- Nothing to Declare.

Posted by
11451 posts

Hubby has several meds.Never brings the prescriptions but does carry the labeled bottles. We have never been stopped by customs for anything.

Posted by
20321 posts

The point is that just about everybody over the age of 50 will be carrying prescription meds, and customs agents know this. So unless it is an unusually large quantity, no one will bat an eye even if they do take a look.

Posted by
7659 posts

My advice is less about customs, as a plan in case the unexpected happens, if you were to lose them, miscount, drop them down the drain, get delayed on return a day or two, or more. Bring enough information that, if needed, you could go to a Pharmacist or Physician over there and get replacements. Knowing that you take "X brand" is not good enough, you will want the generic name as well as dosage and form. That can be a separate piece of paper provided by your Doctor, maybe even with some health history or why those drugs were prescribed.

As for the Adderall, I would be tempted to cover another couple days in case you are delayed. Unlikely, but it happens.

Posted by
2768 posts

There are no routine checks and medications do not need to be declared. Bringing a normal amount of medication is...normal and will not raise any eyebrows if you are checked. Random custom checks apparently happen, though I’ve never seen it, but they are looking for prohibited items, not tourists personal medications.

Have the prescriptions with their pharmacy labels with your name on them. If you are concerned there is no harm in getting a doctors letter, but you are extremely unlikely to need it.

More importantly have the info of what you are taking (scientific name, dosage) to provide to a local doctor if you get sick. That’s more likely than a customs check.

Posted by
11354 posts

We always dump our meds into baggies, never bring bottles as we get three months supplies and bottles are huge.
. But also, we print out the meds from our patient portals at our hospital/doctors. If you become ill or are hospitalized it will be very helpful to have the list with names other than brand names for your RXs. First time we had medical care in Europe, the doctor needed the names of our meds, not the brand names.
Customs could care less about meds. I think you mean passport control? No issues there either.

Posted by
33131 posts

AnnieM, I think you are wise to consider possible problems.

I agree that having a few days backup is wise, and I suggest that for all drugs that you must take. My wife usually takes a full week of extra doses of our medicine.

As your Adderall is controlled and might well get a reaction from drug dogs, I think that a letter would be wise as well as only taking what you need plus a few days.

I'm not a Customs officer nor a policeman, nor am I Italian. It might be worth asking the Embassy or Consulate if Italian Customs would have any issues. Is your flight direct from the US to Italy? The UK has strict controls on the drug in question so if you are routed through here checking in advance is wise.

I don't know that you would have any problems if you don't check; but I won't tell you that you wouldn't have any issues either.

How much time have you got to get all your ducks in order?

By the way, you have my full support - I hope that you can gain clarity and help without putting yourself through unneeded stress. Good luck, and I hope you both have a great holiday in Italy.

Posted by
8208 posts

Your pharmacist can cut you a printed copy of all your prescriptions verifying that they're legitimate.
My wife travels with a # of prescriptions, and she's never been questioned about drugs in airport security. They see so many prescriptions and the inspectors frankly don't have the expertise or extra time to question travelers.
I would be hesitant to carry CBD products on an airplane at this time as the THC in them could easily setoff a drug dog's sniffer.

Posted by
15564 posts

Remember, when you arrive in Italy and should you be stopped by customs tell them you were told on the Rick Steves board that they should not care about your prescriptions and that customs is just a walk through so they should let you walk through.

That should work....LOL

In most cases, you won't be stopped. But if you are--and I've seen people stopped--as long as you have the pharmacy label that has your name, the drug name, the prescribing doctor, etc, you know, the normal label information, you should be fine. I don't know of any drug restrictions in Italy. (I'm going to Japan next month and they do prohibit certain drugs--most of which are over the counter in the USA.)

Posted by
759 posts


Contact your closest Italian Embassy.
Adderall is illegal in many countries. Just because you have a US prescription/doctor’s note doesn’t make it “all right”. Google and read about the young US teacher whose father mailed her , US proper and legal, refill to her and her arrest for drug smuggling when she picked up her package.

While controlled/illegal and cannot be bought there, in some countries (not Japan) they will allow a tourist to bring it in, with proper medical documentation (but it sure as heck won’t be refilled). Your going to THEIR country, you play by THEIR rules.

I do not know where Italy falls in terms of a tourist bringing some in, with documentation, while on a trip. And certainly no one here can tell you. Contact Italian authorities. People seem to think if they have a US prescription they can bring in any drug to any country and it just doesn’t work that way.