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Medication Abroad

Medication Abroad

If you take any OVER-THE COUNTER (OTC) MEDICATION regularly or seasonally (e.g., Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or antihistamines), we recommend that you pack an appropriate supply for the duration of your time overseas. Please note that some medicines that are considered OTCs in the U.S. might be considered as prescription medication (controlled substance) abroad. Carry only the amount of medication that you anticipate needing for the duration of your stay. Please consult your physician concerning the amount of medication you should bring with you.

The same guidelines apply to PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION. You should take an ample supply for your entire time abroad. However, please note that the exact amount that you can carry with you will be subject to your host country's limitations. Additionally, some prescriptions that are available in the U.S. may not be available in the countries you will be studying in and/or visiting. In fact, some prescriptions could be illegal in your host country. To ensure that you do not violate any custom regulations in your host country or the countries that you might go to outside of your program, please check with your doctor and your destination's embassy/consulate.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Leave all medication in their originally labeled bottles or packaging. Do not take your medication out of their original packaging/bottle and pack them into unmarked pillboxes.

  • Leave your medication in their originally labeled bottles or packaging. Pack a month's supply in your carry-on bag and distribute the remainder bottles in your check-in bags.

  • Obtain and carry written prescriptions of any medications that your doctor thinks you might need while you are abroad.

  • Consider carrying written prescription and supporting documents for your eyeglasses and/or contact lenses.

  • Have your written prescription in your carry-on luggage. Leave additional copies of your written prescription in each check-in bag.

  • Make sure that your prescriptions are written in generic terms, specifying all ingredients. Avoid using the commercial names of medications since those medications might have different retail names in the country where you are studying or the countries where you might travel.

  • You might also find it helpful to look up the local name of the medications you will/might need, as well as the dosages that are permissible in your host country or the countries that you might visit. You should discuss with your physician whether the medications available in your host country are suitable for you, including whether the available dosages are appropriate, well in advance of your departure. Here are a couple of resources you can reference to learn about the medications that might be available in your host country and their local names:

  • Find out how you will obtain necessary medicines and what the pharmacy hours are in your host country or the countries that you might visit.

  • Before purchasing any medication from your local pharmacy, please read the packaging and verify the dosage and purpose of that particular medication with the pharmacist.