Please sign in to post.

Prescription for medications??

I would be carrying diabetic and cholesterol medication. Do I need any special prescription from my doctor or the bottle itself would be fine.


Posted by
4944 posts

If you use the search function, you can find much, much more discussion on this, but the concise version:

  • It is unlikely that any authority will examine your prescription medication, and for the types of medication you are talking about, in quantities for personal use and appropriate for the length of your trip, there are no issues.
  • It is prudent, for medication you cannot do without, to have some type of record, either a prescription or something from your Doctor, of what you are taking (Brand, Generic name, amount, and dosage/instructions) and why you are taking if that is applicable. This is important if for some reason you need to replace your meds, or need more due to an unexpected delay.
Posted by
458 posts

I took the suggestion of someone in the forum. I got the pharmacist to print the meds label and carry the pills in zip lock bags.

Posted by
2529 posts

Just to clarify... I am assuming by "bottle" you mean the personalized containers served in your pharmacies, do you? If so, know that we don't use the same method here and that wouldn't probably be of any use to you.

Generic advice
When travelling abroad ALWAYS carry a proper prescription by your doctor (printed on letterheaded paper and/or with a proper stamp on it) indicating the principles (generic medicine) you need to purchase as it's often the case similar drugs have different brands in different countries. Needless to say that for certain drugs you'll need the prescription specifically made to your name indicating as well the doses. Also, note that the classification of drugs vary from country to country and sometimes something you may buy over-the-counter at home might require a prescription elsewhere (or vice versa!).

Posted by
2917 posts

I just carry small bottles with the pharmacy label on it. On my most recent trip, everything was in one bottle to save space while hiking. Nobody has ever asked, or even looked at the bottles, in any country I’ve ever visited.

Posted by
3437 posts

In the US, the bottle or other package you receive when your prescription is filled has a label on it that basically reiterates the info on the prescription. What condition the drug is treating is rarely shown on the prescription or label. The pharmacy keeps the original prescription in their files for refill purposes. The prescription you get from your doctor is on a preprinted paper form that the doctor fills in with drug name and dosage. However, in most states prescriptions are moving to all electronic so there is no paper copy. It is up to the pharmacy to determine what that drug is or what the generic is if a generic is allowed.

US Doctors are reluctant to write an extra copy of a prescription for you to have, especially in the case of controlled substances (narcotics) where he could get in trouble for over prescribing. They are willing to write a letter describing what you take and what it is for. This is what will be useful if you need to see a doctor in Europe to get a refill of your drugs. Your US prescription will not work at European pharmacies. Not all drugs you can get in the US are available outside the US.

Posted by
52 posts

I got a letter from my doctor on letterhead about what medicines I would carry and why. Thanks !! I checked online and found out that the medicines I take are available over the counter in spain.

Posted by
5807 posts

In travel to Europe extensively since 1960 and every year in the last 25, I have yet to have any immigration control agent or TSA type screener look at any of my prescription meds. If you have something that can be abused like meds for mental illness or narcotics then you would want to be double sure to have appropriate documentation just in case, but otherwise their original labels is probably good enough. If you don't want to run any risks at all then having a list on your doctor's letterhead is not a bad idea. Of course in the US that may cost you significantly.