taking syringe on a plane: hi - looking for advice from... - NRAS


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taking syringe on a plane

jf211 profile image
35 Replies

hi - looking for advice from experienced travellers please

I’m venturing onto a plane for the 1st time with my methotrexate syringes. Do I need a specific letter from a doc or will a copy of my clinic letter stating my medications be adequate?

35 Replies
Jackie1947 profile image

Scienus and my hospital dept both sent me letters for travelling just in case I was asked to show proof. However I don't fly anymore but cruise and security still applies. I don't evenb bother mentioning

jf211 profile image
jf211 in reply to Jackie1947

thanks - I think need to put out in tray at security, that’s all I was going to do -, just not sure if clinic letter will be enough stating s/c metho or need a specific one explaining syringe for people who don’t understand- I don’t get from Sciensus, just gp & don’t want to bother them if not necessary

jf211 profile image
jf211 in reply to jf211

this is my 1st flight since covid, so I’m nervous!

Jackie1947 profile image
Jackie1947 in reply to jf211

Check with your airline. Have your Dr give you a letter explaining why you're carrying it in hand luggage,dosage,your name. Security is used to all medical equipment these days so don't worry . My injection pens go in a zipped case.

Thingybob profile image

I take the certificate given to me by the hospital when I started on the mtx injections in 2018. No one has ever asked me for it or about the injections. I carry them in my hand luggage and have never put them separately in the trays to go through security. I leave them in my bag in a toiletries bag with all my other pills.

Im sure you will be fine 😊

jf211 profile image

thank you.

The rheum nurse was going over the top imo and telling me to inform the airline that I would be bringing cytotoxic drugs onboard!

KittyJ profile image
KittyJ in reply to jf211

I think that’s in case of spillage with mtx as it’s cytotoxic, so she may be right but I’ve never taken it on a flight. . You could always ask the airline to be sure.

Braecoon profile image

My Rheumy nurse did a letter for me for my methotrexate and Amgevita on headed NHS letter. Travelled to USA in December. Heathrow security wanted to see letter and they did a drug swab test (a bit ironic!!!) on the freezer bag that injections were in, but didn’t take long. They were more interested in my Velcro sketcher’s ankle boots - made me take them off to go through x-ray in a plastic tray.

DianeT1957 profile image

My rheumy nurse sent me a letter for Mxt and Benapali. It has to be taken on as hand luggage, the airline didn’t even ask for it. But drug tested my inhaler!

Egpa profile image

Hi jf211, I take a letter from Rhumatolagy my yellow card, last letters from consultant and back of my prescription with me when I fly, neaver been asked to show them as the travel agent as registered them with the airline. but I do register my meds and equipment with the travel agent tui,as I take my nebuliser. Mtx and other this for my bronceactsis and ra it is classed as a medical bag, it is not classed as your hand luggage so you can carry an extra bag.

Whezziewhoozie profile image

hi, I am literally just going through this with my biologics as off to Australia with loads of internal flights as well as a few long haul ones.

I was told that just normal clinic notes wouldn’t do byHeathrow and airlines so my rheum nurse wrote a letter. Think it’s pretty standard for them. My homecare team also send a letter which they offered to do.

Have a look at your airlines condiditions if carriage. It’s generally covered under hyperdermic needles.

I also emailed the airline checking it was ok and have printed this off to take with me. Mainly because I am travelling 5 different airlines. Three of the airlines have told me I must declare them at check in.

Another great tip someone gave me is to keep them with you at all times. If the aircrew offer to store them then politely decline. I have been on a few forums and if they change crew/ store then then things get shifted around in flight. It might be difficult to find them again.

Also have a think about a prescription for other drugs from your doctor. I am on a Dmard etc so got a copy of that.

I am not normally so anal however we are flying to 4 different countries so wanted to make sure there were no road blocks!

SEAgran3 profile image

I carry a letter from my doctor, the surgery charges £20 for it, but it lasts a year, I carry my syringes in my hand luggage along with my other prescription drugs.

Fra22-57 profile image

This is custom card I need to present at customs

Custom card I present with Abatacept
Maureengibson profile image

I’m not on MTX injections, but do use benepali injections as well as hydrocortisone injections. I had to get a letter from my rheumatologist and endocrinologist, which they do free of charge. GPS can do but will charge for it. I’ve been asked twice in the 6yrs of travelling for my letter. My benepali is not allowed through the X-ray machine, so it is kept aside and swabbed.

I suspect your nurse is correct about informing them it’s a cytotoxic drug you’re carrying, in case it breaks and leaks. There may be separate rules on how it is stored, although I’m sure one of the cool bags would be sufficient.

Swanfull profile image
Swanfull in reply to Maureengibson

hi, so do you have to declare Benapali? if you say it can’t go through X-ray machine or can you just leave it in your hand luggage?

Maureengibson profile image
Maureengibson in reply to Swanfull

I have to take it out my hand luggage at security, they then take it for swabbing, then I collect once I’ve gone through the scanner. I contacted the manufacturer as Sciensus pharmacist wasn’t sure. The manufacturer confirmed it should not go through the X-ray machine.

KittyJ profile image
KittyJ in reply to Swanfull

I’ve had Benepali go through X-ray and was told it’s ok to do that 🤷🏻‍♀️

CagneysMum profile image

Hi. I pack my syringes/pens for methotrexate and amgevita in my hand luggage but never get them out unless asked … never been asked so far ! I do carry a letter from Healthcare/Sciensus (my providers) explaining what they are in case I’m challenged and I always carry an in date prescription for the rest of my medication.

Swanfull profile image
Swanfull in reply to CagneysMum

thank you 😊

Biofreak profile image

You're entitled to take all medications on a plane including injections. I'm type one diabetic and also have abatacept injections and always carry them in my hand luggage. I take my repeat prescription list with me as well. I have never been asked about it at security but you have to put anything that contains liquid ( like a prefilled syringe) and insulin for example in the tray you get going through security. If anyone asks just show tell them what it's for and your repeat prescription list.

jf211 profile image

thank you everyone

I just can’t face the hassle of telling airline about cytotoxic - let’s face it, the only way it would spill is if the plane crashed etc and a couple of ml of that would be the least of anyone’s problems….

KittyJ profile image
KittyJ in reply to jf211

but they could leak?

jf211 profile image
jf211 in reply to KittyJ

no - not when packaged and unopened - the cap is firmly attached(&wont go back on post- injection) - and they will be in a sealed bag -

Even if it (there will only be 1) leak, it’s 0.5ml - ie one drop, wouldn’t get as far as anything outside my hand luggage

KittyJ profile image
KittyJ in reply to jf211

I know about the injections and how they’re packaged but they can leak and spill, faults in manufacturing can happen. You can’t guarantee it won’t. That’s why you are given a spills kit. It’s really no hassle to tell the airline and you should if that’s what you’ve been told to do. You could always miss a week if it’s causing you hassle to take it with you. I’ve done that before. 😊

Braecoon profile image
Braecoon in reply to KittyJ

I travelled to USA from UK recently with methotrexate and amgevita in a cooler bag and have never been given a spills kit. I travel every year and my rheumy nurse completed the travel letter. No word about a spill kit. Please can you check your information because I do not think it is currently correct - happy to be corrected if wrong (would be helpful to hear if others have a ‘spill kit’). Been on methotrexate for 4 years.

KittyJ profile image
KittyJ in reply to Braecoon

well I was given one although not within the last four years. Is it now not considered cytotoxic so you don’t need to be careful of spills? I had a demonstration on what to do but it’s interesting that it’s not considered necessary any more.

Braecoon profile image
Braecoon in reply to KittyJ

you are correct it is still cytotoxic but they do not provide spill kits anymore.

jf211 profile image
jf211 in reply to Braecoon

I was given a ‘spill kit’ 3 1/2 years ago when I started - a paper towel, a plastic bag and a pair of gloves attached by rubber band to my cin bin

I figure you could wipe up with anything, bin it carefully & then wash your hands. Only spills I’ve encountered is if a tiny drop comes back out - usually if I hit a vessel

Braecoon profile image
Braecoon in reply to jf211

It seems that they do not issue spill kits anymore. Like you, I have only experienced a small drop on my skin after the injection and use toilet roll to mop up and dispose of this with the pen in the cytotoxic sharps bin provided.

Rachmaninov2 profile image
Rachmaninov2 in reply to Braecoon

I was instructed on how to use my Metoject syringes two weeks ago and the nurse also pointed out the spill kit.

Happy5 profile image

I put mine into a small bag that carries all the required number of pre filled injections.

I have a card given me by the consultant to show I use them.

Used to take a GP letter but never asked for it so go with up to date prescription

to show I'm prescribed them.

Don't let anyone tell you to put in hold luggage or in a fridge they could freeze and crack other wise.

Bon Voyage :)

jf211 profile image
jf211 in reply to Happy5

that’s one reason why I won’t be informing the airline

I don’t want a jobsworth telling me what to do- hold baggage goes missing too often

bunnycaramel profile image

my partner and I take injections on the plane. We have never been asked about them. We just take our latest repeat prescriptions with but as I said earlier never been asked.

Maggsie profile image

how long are you going for? If its it's just for a week or two and you're reasonable well controlled then I wouldn't bother taking them with you. The stress of sorting it all out and going through security etc. is much more likely to cause me to flare than missing one or 2 inecinjections.

Feelingpoorly profile image

Hi I take methotrexate and travel to canada regularly to see my son and his family. I travelled Xmas 2021 when Canada was still under strict covid restrictions. I have also travelled a couple of times since. I always travel from Heathrow.

This is how I manage my medicine.

I packed my injections into a separate bag small enough to put into my hand luggage. Keep the injections in their original packaging and leave the individual outer box seal intact. Security checked each box to check the seal was intact.

Each box will have your full name on it, which again was checked by security. I also arranged for a travel disposal box so that I can safely dispose of my injections after use whilst I am away. This box was sealed for my return journey and again I kept this in my hand luggage. It was later collected by my local council for safe disposal.

in addition I took a copy of my prescription and a letter from my GP (this cost £20.00)

Try not to worry, many people take medications every day overseas.

Good luck and enjoy your trip

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