Airport security and injections

I'm going away in May and will be travelling which a lot of medication, including several bottles of liquid medication and needles, so I'm anxious about getting it all right.

Do I need a letter with regards to the methotrexate? Mine comes from the hospital pharmacy, not a delivery company. I read that MTX cannot go through the xray scanner, is this true? What about humira? Also, I'm worried about the needles for the MTX, as they are not attached to the syringe, will they be fussy about this? Due to my GI issues, most meds are in liquid form. Do I need a letter or will my normal prescription do?

Thanks in advance and sorry for the questions. I've usually skipped injections whilst away but I'm going for longer and it's not an option this time around.,

19 Replies

  • I have never had any issues with taking meds / injections through airport security but you need to make sure everything is properly labelled and your injections are kept in a cool bag and you must make sure that your injections don't get to warm and are kept at correct temp. When you get on board the plane it is worth while seeing if a flight attendant will put the injections in the fridge. Some airlines will do this some won't. If it makes you feel better than get a letter from your doc but I have never travelled with a letter and even though I don't travel with many meds now when I used to I never had any issues.

    However I always get new prescription for my meds because that way I know that everything is properly labelled and I prefer the meds being unopened.

    Also make sure you leave plenty of time cause you will prob be waiting at the airport.. well unless your lucky ... because they will go through all your bags and check that what you are carrying on meds.

    Ps don't be nervous.

    I travel with frozen green smoothies when I travel. I make my own wraps and just make sure they are not wrapped in silver foil, I have taken fruit and teas on the plane with me and never have any issues however if you are worried anything then get a doctors note.

    Up to you if you want to do this but on my way home I always stick the meds in my suitcase because I can not be bothered to wait around for security to check all of my meds again. However if you are carrying liquids then you prob won't be able to do that. Also if you are carrying liquid meds then you will need to check the size of them because we are only allowed to carry liquids of a certain size.. I think and liquids will need to go through security in a clear bag I think.

    You can ring up the airline you are travelling with to check all of this or go online but like I said I have never had any issues with meds just be careful with liquid meds.

    Happy travelling. :)

  • i travel with my Enbrel in a cool box. I also have a letter from the Enbrel company. I think it would be worth having a headed letter from your GP about the medication with any information necessary

  • I always take an upto date letter from my Rheumatology Nurse which cover the sealed injections. I've never had to show it but was always there just in case.

    Hope the weather helps you!

  • Hi, I've travelled with mtx twice recently and on both occasions was advised to inform the airline and take a copy of the prescription and a letter of confirmation from rheumy nurse. There were no probs. Oh, you can also purchase an insulated meds bag for keeping things cool. Hope that you have a blessed time away....

  • I always carry a list of my meds from the prescription form as it has the Dr's details on. But I have never had any problem with security, they just look to see if the labels have the Dr's details on.

  • You will need a covering letter for any liquid medication and sharps in your carry on luggage.

    It is very unlikely that the airline staff will allow you to use the fridges on the plane. Check the data sheet for your medication. If it as the examples I have found on the internet, methotrexate has to be kept below 25C and Humira pen can be safely kept below 25C for up to 14 days. So the Frio products used for insulin should work well. The hold luggage may be subject to freezing temperatures and should be avoided for liquid meds. It is unlikely that the drugs will be affected by x-rays.

    You should warn security staff if you have sharps in your carry on luggage.

    I use Cimzia and travelling with it is more complicated as it has kept refrigerated, 2-8C. I have managed to get a iCool bag which can keep my syringe cool for 24 hours. The problem I still have, is that living near Inverness flights abroad often require an overnight stay on the way out meaning a door to door time of around 30 hours.

  • scottishlad I have found that it depends on the airline that you are travelling with and how nice the staff are some airlines will put the injections in the fridge some won't but it is worth while asking because it Is very important that the injections are kept at correct temp and I have found that sometimes these injections can become warm which is not a good thing if you are doing a long hall flight..

  • If you have a covering letter from your GP, it will help. Please ask boots or any other chemist for carry on medicine bag, this can be a separate bag to your carryon bag.

    Do check with the air line on carry one medication.

  • If it requires and cooling blocks then that too should be mentioned on the letter because they are liquid at room temperature.

  • I have not had this problem so far, but am now on mtx metoject pens so am interested in all the replies as I am fling to Majorca in the summer. Will try to get a cool bag from Boots.

  • Hiya Sophie. You could try ringing the NRAS helpline, they've probably been asked lots of times about travelling with meds, or maybe they'd be kind enough to set out a list of needs required for injectables when travelling, specifically airport regs. With having liquid meds you really need to ensure quantities, as in ml's, allowed if you have to carry them on board. If they've to go in the hold check if any of them spoil in the very low temp.

    If you're travelling to different countries it may be prudent to check each countries' Embassy or Consulate pages for specifics required of each?

  • Hi, I have recently returned from a two week holiday abroad, you do need a letter saying that you are carrying needles and methotrexate which must NOT go through the xray machine. Have a cool bag and ask at Security for them to inspect manually, they will swab the the bag and look inside. I do not put my methotrexate in a fridge, advice given to me is that it must be kept at room temperature between 15 to 25 degrees. I also bought a small thermometer which I keep in my bag and periodically check the temp. Hope this advice is useful to you..

  • I travel with MTX and it is absolutely fine to go through the scanner. I double and triple checked the first time I did it as the letter I had from Healthcare at Home said that was better not to, but having to factor in an extra 15 minutes for extra security annoyed me. So I phoned the manufacturer's in Germany (I said I was an RA nerd didn't I?) and they said it was absolutely fine. Anyway me & my MTX have been through airport scanners every 6 weeks or so for the past 4 years with no problems at all. Previously I had MTX with the detached needles and I just put it all in my hand luggage and nobody ever asked about it. Now I have the metoject pen, and most times I don't even bother to get it out of my bags either. In hot countries or in heat waves I do put it in an insulated bag.

    I do make sure I have up to date paperwork, just in case asked as a 6 week supply of my 12 different meds is quite a large bag full (nearly the whole of my hand luggage allowance!). In theory prescription meds can be carried in addition to normal hand luggage, but I prefer to travel light anyway.

    But never had any problems apart from once when I was asked to take the pen out of the box so they could see exactly what it was. Actual liquids (apart from the couple of ml in syringe) are different and different airports & airlines can have very slightly different requirements so best to check that individually.

    Have a good trip.

  • Hi I have a letter from my rheumatology nurse she was very helpful xx

  • Last autumn I travelled to Australia. I completed the airline form, had a copy of my prescription for the medication as well as a letter from my GP. I was travelling with metoject pens and morphine patches. As we were away for 14 weeks I wanted to dispose of the empty pens regularly. I was advised by a GP in Darwin that I could give them to a pharmacy and they would dispose of them. I put the empty pen back in its box and duly handed it over to a pharmacist wherever we were over the weeks with no problems. Equally there were no problems with security in airports but we did always go through the red 'To Declare' gate.

    Enjoy your holiday: we did!

  • Thanks all! I tried to phone the airline but I only got automated messages. It said there is no maximum amount for liquid medication, as long as you bring a prescription or letter. I had a GP appt anyway, so she agreed to write a letter which should cover that side of things.

    I have left a message for rheum nurses about a letter for MTX. I will need an extra sharps box too, I suppose.

    As its only a 10 day holiday, I think I will inject humira just before I go and that saves the hassle of worrying about that one.

    Thanks for the reassurance. :) you guys are great! X

  • Please have a look at this link:

  • you should not need a letter for you MTX but if it makes you feel better then maybe if you can't get hold of the nurse call your gp see if he will do you a letter.

    Honestly though I fly all the time and never had any issues but I am pleased you found out about flying with liquids I was not sure about that.

    Just make sure you leave plenty of time for them to search your bags because I have found that when I don't leave the extra time and they search through your bags that is what delays me and it is better if you just search your meds rather than putting them through x ray machine.

    Happy holidays.

  • Sophie, I know it's not a Metoject pen you'll be travelling with but this link has a download from which you can print off a travel certificate in several different languages to be signed off by a doctor

    This would indicate that some form of documentation signed by a doctor or the prescriber is needed for when flying.

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