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Prescription Medicine

I have recently had a question about a comment I made about packing prescription meds. I posted that I used small packets (2.5X3) for daily meds (they aren't in the original prescription bottle) . I carry them in my carry on backpack. I've never had questions about this. Have any of you had security problems with carrying your meds divided into daily doses in those small packets?

Posted by
1662 posts


Of course, you will get different answers because of different experiences.

I used the "pill baggies" found at the pharmacy. I put them all in a zip bag. I fill them for what I need plus an extra two days, write the color, name, dose, pill # on file label. Mine are OTC's and vitamins. I was never questioned by any security.

If yours are narcotics and you want to lessen the bulkiness of bottles, ask your pharmacist if you can have them in blister packs - I have no idea if that can be done with narcotics. Or, ask the pharmacist or tech to print out labels so you can put them on the baggies.

Posted by
36 posts

I've just got regular prescription meds ( thyroid and blood pressure) but have never had anyone take them out of my backpack or inquire. I guess if I had narcotics, I'd bring them in prescription bottles. Even with that said, i haven't brought copies of the prescriptions. I was just wondering if this was something anyone had had happen???

Posted by
2165 posts

I think the people at Immigration and/or security are quite busy looking for things that are out of the ordinary or dangerous. I doubt that medications in personal use amounts fall into that category.

I put my meds into weekly organizers and have never had any issue.

Posted by
2693 posts

I do what previous posters do-put what I need in small plastic bags made for pills. Out of an abundance of caution I bring copies of the labels which are stapled to my prescriptions when I pick them up at the pharmacy. This in case I lose my pills, at least I can show a doctor what it is. I do now carry an injectable that is a controlled substance. That is in it’s original packaging.

Posted by
1025 posts

In these days of electronic wizardry, scanning the prescription labels can alleviate the confusing mass of paperwork I always seem to have to sift through when I travel. That way, the information is on your iPhone or Android. Scanner Pro is an app that works very easily and it is free.

Posted by
492 posts

I've never once been asked about prescription medication (granted, tend to only have prescription allergy pills but I will sometimes throw those in to a daily dose organizer thingy with vitamins and such).

I've always figured, in the off chance anyone asks, the actual pharmacy mobile apps could come in handy. Both Walgreens' and CVS' mobile apps have all your Rx information (if you fill them there, of course) along with photos of the medication. If someone were to ask me what my little allergy pill was, I could just pull up the application and show them all of that at once. I have noticed Walgreens tends to keep their photos updated a bit better than CVS, however.

Something CVS does offer are "multi dose packs" - you can get a 30 day supply of all your medications, in individually sealed multi dose packets.

I've never tried it, but it does seem like it could come in handy for travel if someone wanted to have their Rx information on them - the daily packets have information printed on them.

Posted by
672 posts

My generics are sent to me by Express Scripts in 90-day supply bottles. This is a widespread delivery in the United States and it's unreasonable to carry bulky bottles. The prescriptions containing fewer pills supplied by local pharmacies are called in by my doctor as are the 90-day medicines. I never have a "prescription" in hand. I've never followed the instructions to carry the medicines in the original containers. I do bring copies of whatever information is attached to any of the medicines. It's never been an issue for me or my travel partner in our international travels. The TSA rules apply to domestic travel in the US and I've never had issues in my many work-related flights either.

Posted by
2788 posts

In going to Europe for 16 of the last 18 years for about a month each year, I always take most prescription pills in generic bottles that are labeled. I do keep one prescription in its original bottle due to it being a narcotic. I have never been questioned about any of my pills when going or coming.

Posted by
6113 posts

Many countries state that prescription medication should be in its original packaging. I guess an immigration official could get awkward if you are stopped and question you at length or confiscate your pills. Why risk it? I always take mine in their original boxes, just in case. I haven’t been stopped.

Posted by
22983 posts

An immigration officer has absolutely no interest in what you are carrying or your pills. Customs might, especially when returning to the US but by them most of the pills should be gone. In 20+ years of travel in Europe I have never been stopped by customs anywhere. Just a walk through the Green Door -- nothing to declare. Going into Europe with a couple bottles of pills has never been a problem.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you all for your replies. It sounds like all of you have had pretty much my same experience with prescription meds. If you want to be extra cautious, just ask the pharmacist to give you copies of the scripts and stick them with your packets. I think I'll just stick to what I've been doing, though. Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

Posted by
884 posts

It's a good idea to get a print out from your pharmacy just in case you need it for medical care, to get an refill, etc. We often know our brand names but not what they are called in other countries.

Even over the counter meds can be a challenge when you walk in a foreign pharmacy. In Europe just about everything is kept behind the counter and you have to ask for it. I tried asking for salicylic acid at 2 different German pharmacies - a common item for several skin issues - with zero luck. If it's written down you have a better chance of communicating your needs.