Travelling with your medicines

General Medicine

If you are travelling by plane, keep your medicines in your hand-carry luggage.

To help with security at the airport:

  • Keep medicines in the original bottles.
  • Ask your doctor for a copy of all your prescriptions. You may need this in case you misplace, run out, or damage your medicines.
  • If you have diabetes, ask your doctor for a letter explaining your medical condition with a list of your medications. You are allowed to carry your medicines, blood glucose meter, and lancet device on a plane.
  • Carry your refrigerated medicines with you on the plane in a cooler bag that is sufficient to keep the medication cold for a few hours. Inform a flight attendant about your medication as soon as you board the long haul flight.
  • The flight attendant will be able to put the medication in the airplane’s refrigerator. Make sure your container is labeled with your name and contact information.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Put Your Medicines Up and Away and Out of Sight. December 12, 2011. Accessed on 10 August, 2016.

The Center for Improving Medication Management and the National Council on Patient Information and Education. The quick scoop: medicines and your family: safely storing and disposing of medicines. Updated 2016. Accessed 10 August, 2016.


Can I Crush the Tablet or Open the Capsule?

Types of tablet or capsule that you should NOT crush or open:

  1. Delayed-release or long-acting formulation
    Crushing this type of tablet may release the drug all at once. This increases the chance of side effects, the risk of overdosing with the medicines, and potentially a period of time where the drug is not present in your body to exert an effect.
  2. Tablets with a gastro-resistant coating
    These tablets contain gastro-resistant granules that are designed to protect the active ingredient from our stomach acid, and are only released when it reaches the intestines.When this gastro-resistant layer is destroyed by crushing, you may increase your chance of a stomach ulcer, have lesser amount of the drug to exert an effect, or stopping the drug from getting to where it needs to work.
  3. Sensitive to light or moisture
    Some active ingredients are sensitive to light or moisture (e.g. frusemide is light sensitive). Crushing a tablet or opening a capsule that contains a light- or moisture sensitive active ingredient exposes it to degradation.
  4. Cytotoxic
    This group of medicines is toxic to cells as they stop or prevent cells from replicating. They are used to treat cancers and other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.It is important that personnel involved in drug preparation or administration are aware of the nature of the drug so that they can avoid unnecessary handling of the drug or take precautionary steps by wearing gloves to prevent skin contact or face mask for inhalation.



Moisturizers vs Steroids

Eczema is a skin condition caused by inflammation of the skin. Eczema causes skin to become itchy, red, dry; and sometimes even cracked and leathery.

General Medicine Use & Storage



  • Helps prevent further water loss
  • Main role is to prevent eczema from flaring up
  • The difference between lotions, creams and ointments is the proportion of oil (lipid) to water
  • The higher the lipid content, the thicker the emollient. Hence, the better and longer it works.
  • The type to use depends on the dryness of your skin, the area of skin involved and your preference:
    • Mild skin dryness – Lotion or Cream
    • Moderate skin dryness – Cream or Ointment
    • Areas of hairy skin – Lotion

Topical Steroids

Topical steroids work by reducing inflammation of the skin and clearing flare-ups.


How to apply moisturizers?

  • Use moisturizers at least twice a day, after a shower and before bedtime. They are best applied within 3 minutes after a shower or bath to maximise their moisture-retaining effect.
  • Apply moisturizers generously to entire body. This prevents the eczema from developing elsewhere.

How to apply steroid creams?

  • Gently rub the cream or ointment into the skin until it disappears. Then wash your hands (unless your hands are the treated area).
  • Overuse of steroids can lead to thinning and discolouration of skin.


Eczema: How to use Mositurisers and Topical Steroids


How Stable Are Medicines Removed From Original Packs?

Certain medicines are not recommended to be removed from its original packaging and stored in a compliance aid. These include:

  • Effervescent tablets
  • Dispersible tablets
  • Buccal tablets
  • Sublingual tablets
  • Cytotoxic preparations

Store your medicines in their original containers to preserve their effects as far as possible

If you are required to take half a tablet of your medicine, avoid cutting your pills in advance and storing them in a medication container for later use. This may affect the quality and efficacy of the medication.


General Medicine Use & Storage



Church, C.; Smith, J. 2006, The Pharmaceutical Journal: “How stable are medicines moved from original packs into compliance aids?”


True friends do not advocate sharing of prescription medicines with each other. WHY?

Sharing of medications is NOT caring

Any medicines will have side effects, but these are known risks and are managed by a health care professional. Thus, the benefits outweigh the risks when the medicine is taken as directed.

It is also important to always seek the advice of a paediatrician before giving medicines to a child. Doses prescribed for adults are not the same for children. Furthermore, certain medications should NOT be given to children because they may harm the child’s development.

Remember that medicines prescribed by your doctor are a choice tailor made for you and your needs. Keep yourself and your family safe by not sharing your medicines.

General Medicine Use & Storage



Sharing prescription medicines can be bad for health. By Christopher Campbell,Pharm.D, PGY1 Resident, George Regents Medical Center, Augusta; and Christina E. DeRemer Pharm.D., BCPS, Primary Care Clinical Pharmacist & Medicine Team Supervisor, Georgia Regents Health System.


Keep Medicines Away from Heat and Light

General Medicine Use & Storage

  • Proper storage of medicines is crucial to ensure their effectiveness and potency.
  • Avoid keeping your medicines in your car.
  • Proper storage areas for example, include your bedroom inside a dresser drawer or in a kitchen cabinet (but keep out of reach of children).
  • Make sure the cabinet in the kitchen is not above a stove or a sink, where heat and steam could create moisture problems that will damage the medicines.



Mistakes in Storage May Alter Medication, By WALECIA KONRADAUG. 15, 2011,


Do Medicines Need to be Kept in the Refrigerator?

Not all medicines need to be kept in a refrigerator as they may be adversely affected by the fluctuating temperatures of a domestic refrigerator. Check with your pharmacist for the precise temperature range for your medicines. Only medicines that carry the instruction “REFRIGERATE” should be stored in the refrigerator, preferably in the centre compartment, and to avoid the door or the cooling vent at the back of the refrigerator.



Mistakes in Storage May Alter Medication, By WALECIA KONRADAUG. 15, 2011,

General Medicine Use & Storage