Complete Guide for Carrying Medication on a Plane

When preparing for a trip on a plane, there are several items that you will need to include such as bathing suit, medicine, and air ticket. If you will be carrying medications on a plane, this will also require some advance thoughts and pre-planning.  You will need to understand the rules for flying with medicines as your prescription medicines, and even the OTC drugs may be illegal in the place you are visiting. Here is your complete guide for carrying drugs on a flight.


  • Write your emergency contact info and a copy of your passport biographic data, and prescription with a family member or a friend. You should carry 2 copies with you. One of these should accompany you and the other should be in the checked luggage.  You should also learn the contact information of your embassy
  • Find out if carrying medication on a plane is legal in the country you are planning to travel. For instance, it is illegal to carry many of the OTC that are commonly used in the U.S while traveling to Japan. These include inhalers, sinus and allergy medications. To be specific, any OTC products that have stimulants are not allowed.

What you should pack

According to a Pack Smart List prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are certain special and routine prescriptions, OTC medicines, and supplies that can prevent injury and illnesses as well as first aid drugs. The list can include:

  • The prescription drugs that you usually take.
  • If you suffer from a severe allergy and your medical practitioner has prescribed epinephrine, you can carry the auto-injector.
  • Depending on your travel destination, special prescriptions for trips such as antimalarial drugs and antibiotics that are prescribed by a doctor for the purpose of self-treatment of diarrhea and medications that can help to treat altitude sickness.
  • Insect repellents that have DEET or picaridin.
  • Antibacterial hand wipes that have an alcohol content of at least 60%.
  • Sunscreen.
  • First aid supplied Aloe gel for treatment of sunburns.

Passing through Airport checks

There are several tips for carrying medication on international flights that you can use to ensure that you and your drugs are able to pass the TSA screening without any hitch if your flight is departing from the U.S. These include:

  • Carry your drugs in liquid or pill form in unlimited amount as long as this will get screened.
  • You can carry reasonable amounts of drugs in liquid form.
  • The medication will be screened using X-ray. However, if you don’t want your drugs X-rayed, you can request  for inspection.
  • If your medication requires refrigeration, you are allowed to carry with you accessories like frozen gel and freezer pack through the checkpoint of screening. This also applies to other supplies that are associated with liquids that are medically necessary like the pumps, IV bags and even syringes.
  • While TSA will not require you to have the drugs in prescription bottles, there are certain jurisdictions that have their own laws on the labeling of the prescription drugs.

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