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What if .... I run low on meds?

We are seniors, take meds and supplements, in some cases to mange critical health issues. Therefore, we also travel with enough backup meds to cover the PLANNED trip time plus an additional 2-3 weeks just incase our return home is delayed. But, today it is possible for our return home to be delayed for an extended (unplanned) period to the point where we run out of med.s.

QUESTION: If that should happen, what would be the procedure we get more Rx med.s while in EU --- and what documentation would we need to do so?

Posted by
6529 posts

How long a piece of string?

In general:

  1. See a doctor
  2. Go to a pharmacy
Posted by
792 posts

So. You planned for an additional 2-3 weeks in case of delay. But today you found it possible to be delayed additional time. An extended period you refer to as unplanned. Hmmm. I would say if it is a possibility, plan for that before you go. Get ready for 6 weeks beyond.
But, of course there is the real unplanned possibility beyond that.
Tough call, I see no end to it.

Posted by
207 posts

I'd suggest you get a written copy of your prescriptions from your doctors, too. That will take up no space in your luggage, and will help prevent an EU doctor from deciding a different med would be better for you.

Posted by
7643 posts

Basically, as Badger said, you would need to go to a Doctor, explain what you take meds for, he will examine you, and probably prescribe the same or similar meds, which you get at a pharmacy.

I am a proponent, if you take vital or multiple meds or have a chronic condition, to have access to some type of medical summary either a paper copy or an electronic document you have access to. Something that describes your Doctors prognosis and his treatment plan. The problem is trying to remember the exact ailment you have, and what types of meds other than the brand name. That will help a new Doctor know what your Doctor was thinking, and exactly what he prescribed. One issue you may run into is the exact medication you are prescribed may not be approved for use in Europe or more likely sold under a different brand, a generic name, or in different doses. The more accurate information you have, the better the outcome.

Posted by
350 posts

just this summer i was in the eu for 62 days. about a week before the end of the trip i realized that my eye drops could run out. This medication is something i absolutely have to administer consistently down to a 24-hour cycle. based on previous experience i just went to a pharmacy, showed the bottle, they looked up the chemical/medical name of the medication, and handed me the local equivalent. no prescription was needed. not saying that this will work for every kind of drug, especially controlled substances, or in every country (i was in spain and my experience in italy has been the same). the prudent thing to do is to carry prescriptions and have access to your doctors via email or phone. hope this helps.

Posted by
368 posts

I was handed the wrong bag (but exactly same bag bought at Costco) when getting off a hotel airport shuttle. My carryon with my birth control pills and clothes went to Maui (checked in by a person who also thought they had their bag). My ski equipment went to Amsterdam (not sure why) and I went as planned to Switzerland. One phone call to a GP in Switzerland and I had my medication filled and ready for pickup at the Zurich airport while waiting for my skis to arrive (there is a pharmacy in the airport). I say all this to help ease your mind it will be more of a "if you build it they will come" type of situation there than here. I have found medical professionals in Europe seem to be way more accommodating than their allowed to be in the USA. J

Major medical corporations sell their products all over the world. For example, Colgate toothpaste can probably be purchased in at least 120 countries. Swiss made dental implants are used in USA, etc.. The same is true for most medications. I agree with simply carrying your prescriptions (on paper, cell phone image, or bottles). These can be looked-up by a doctor or pharmacist anywhere and the same or a similar drug can be dispensed. If you have a rare drug - obtain as much as you can and carry it with you.

Posted by
2764 posts

If you have medication‘s that you must take them what you need to do before you leave is get a written copy of the prescription with the generic name from your doctor. Don’t use brand names because brand names can be different in different countries., you want the generic name of the drug.

I would recommend doing this, regardless of whether you think you’re going to need extra meds. If Something Happens on the trip say you forget your pills at the hotel, then you will have this to go get a refill .

Posted by
101 posts

Thanks to all that provided suggestions; very helpful!

Posted by
18505 posts

Go, enjoy your trip. When you are down to a week's worth of meds, go see a doctor. I've had to do it. It's part of the experience of travel.