For students taking prescription medications, you are advised to consult with your physician regarding your study abroad plans and treatment plans while abroad. Keep these important details in mind:
- Do not pack your prescription medication in your checked baggage, keep all prescription drugs with you in carry on baggage.
- It is YOUR responsibility to check into any restrictions on your prescription medication in the country where you will study abroad. Some prescription medications in the United States can be classified as narcotics in other countries and it is illegal to bring them into the country.
- Make sure you will have an adequate supply of medication for the duration of your study abroad program. Do not stop taking your medication unless you are advised to do so by a doctor.
- Do not expect that you will be able to fill your prescription in the host country.
- It is highly recommended that you request a letter from your doctor that states the prescription you are taking, what it is for, and identification of a generic alternative. You can present this letter to customs and immigration officials when entering your host country and you can present it to an in-country physician.
Bring an Ample Supply of Over-the-Counter Medications
You are encouraged to bring your favorite remedy for common illnesses such as headaches, colds, diarrhea, upset stomach, allergies, and sinus problems. You are not likely to find the exact brand overseas that you are used to here at home. In most countries, you will have access to a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications, however it is important to remember that many countries do not have the same rigorous standards as the FDA here in the United States. You may also find that common OTC medications in the US require a prescription overseas.
Consider this advice:
1) Be wary of OTC medications. It is best if you get a recommendation from a close friend or advisor on brands to consider in country.
2) Start with small amounts. Do not take the full dose recommended for an OTC medication until you have a better idea of how your body will react to it. Ease into any new medicine you try.
3) Keep all medicine in original containers while traveling.
For more information on medication and international travel visit Mobility International as they hold up-to-date information as well as a wonderful tip chart on how to go about planning to bring medication abroad.