What Do I Need to Consider When Traveling Overseas with Prescription Weight Loss Medication?

Weight Loss Medication

If you are trying to lose weight, traveling in itself can be a challenge. There are considerations for your diet, such as where to eat and what to eat. If you are bringing healthy packed meals, you need to think about keeping them at the right temperature. You also need to keep physical activity in mind in when creating your itinerary. Plus, you also have to try and avoid stress, so that you can get enough sleep.

If you are on medications for weight loss, it can present even more unique challenges.

Weight Loss Medications

There has been a recent uptick in the popularity of new medications available for weight loss. This new prescription weight loss medication group was previously used solely for diabetes, but has been found to be useful for obesity as well. These medications include semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic), liraglutide (Saxenda), and tirzepatide (Zepbound), which are available mostly in pre-filled single dose pens. The other older medications are naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave), orlistat (Alli, Xenical), and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia) which are tables or capsules.

Traveling with Medications

Since the medications are relatively new, there may be some more planning and preparation required before traveling especially overseas. Here are some tips:

Research Regulations

Some countries have strict rules about bringing and possessing medications in their countries, and some common medications you use may even be banned in some places. Look up your destination’s existing regulations. Since some of the medications may be relatively new in use as weight loss medications, it may also be helpful to inquire ahead of time about specific rules regarding them. If there is a language barrier in the country you are visiting, prepare ahead and have a translated document with all the information about your medications.

Talk to Your Doctor

Any form of extended travel which can affect your health management and medication use needs to be discussed with your healthcare provider. Some weight loss medications are given weekly and some daily, so adjustments may need to be made if you are changing time zones. Your specialist will be the best person to guide you on how to best manage your medication adjustments while traveling, so have a detailed conversation with them before you leave.

Check Your Prescriptions

While you are at your doctor’s appointment, it is also best to ask how to get extra medications in case of emergencies. Since some of the weight loss medications need special storage, a long trip might make it difficult for you to carry all your medications. You may need to plan ahead to find a healthcare provider while on your vacation. Your doctor can provide you with documents to help you get the medication you need.

Be Ready for Inspection

One of the meticulous parts of traveling overseas is undergoing inspection at the airport. Although medications are allowed in your check-in and carry-on baggage, it’s best to put your medications in your carry-on to avoid extreme temperature changes and reduce the risk of losing them. Read the security regulations regarding medications with liquid in them, medications with needles, or medications that may need to be kept cold. Inform the officer that you have medically-necessary items. Prepare a copy of your prescription and documentation from your doctor in case they are needed, for a quicker and smoother transition through security.

Ensure Proper Storage

Most of the current weight loss medications need to be kept in secure containers at specific temperatures. Aside from confirming with your doctor, check manufacturer recommendations for storage and transit. Keep medications in original clearly-labeled packaging. It’s worth considering buying a medical-grade insulated bag or pouch for temperature control. For pens and syringes, bring hard-shell cases for carrying and disposing of any needles. Make sure you have the proper storage available at your destination as well by contacting your accommodation in advance.

With extra care and preparation, bringing your weight loss medications with you overseas is possible and manageable. This way, you can ensure that you can continue with your weight loss journey and keep working on your health goals while enjoying a much-needed vacation.

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