Medications and vacation planning

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: May 29th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Did you hear the one about the American Tourist who walks into a British pharmacy? The tourist tries to refill his prescription for a common heart drug.

Turns out, though, the drug goes by another name in England. So the vacationing American can’t replenish the pills he needs to control his heart problem.

Sorry if the punch line isn’t funny, but being stranded overseas without your medications is no laughing matter.

Pharmacists advise that when you’re packing your suitcase, don’t forget your medicine kit. They offer these tips for salvaging your well-earned vacation, even if illness strikes:

First, carry a list of all medications you take… including generic and name brands, strengths and dosages. This could be a lifesaver if you lose or run out of your medication.

Second, make sure to pack an adequate supply. If necessary, ask your doctor to write a new prescription or refill your old one in adequate amounts.

Always leave your prescription medications in their original labeled containers, and make sure they bear your name. These labels can help if a medication must be replaced, and also help you pass through customs without suspicion and delay.

Finally, you can buy electronics in Japan and woolens in Scotland, but don’t stock up on pharmaceutical products in foreign countries. Products with similar or identical names may not be equivalent.

Make medication packing part of every trip. Being prepared will give you peace of mind in sickness and health, and help you have a worry-free vacation.