Archive for February, 2011

Air Travel and Prescription Medications

Posted by on February 23rd, 2011

A frequent question that our team of Canada Drugs pharmacists often get over the phone and through our Ask a Pharmacist online tool concerns questions about traveling by air with medication and any precautions that need to be taken when flying with medication.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the government agency in control of implementing and enforcing security measures for airlines and airports and their suggestions for flying with medication are found on their website in detail here . A quick run down of their tips are below.

  • Pack extra medicine and supplies when traveling in case you are away from home longer than you expect or there are travel delays.
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions in your carry-on, purse, or wallet when you travel.
  • Remember that prescription medications are allowed in carry-on bags, with some restrictions. Prescriptions must be in their original pharmacy container labeled with the name of the passenger. Be sure that the name is the same as on your ticket. Don’t combine your medications into one bottle; take each type of medication in its own labeled bottle. Place all medications in a plastic bag for ease during security screening.
  • If you are taking injectable medications (e.g., Fuzeon, insulin, testosterone) you must have the medication along with you in order to carry empty syringes.
  • Do not remove syringes or medicines from the original packaging with printed labels and manufacturer’s information. Packaging is a good way to help airport security identify your medicines. Opening packages or taking pills out of their prescription bottles will delay your time in security.
  • Show copies of your prescriptions and/or your medication bottles you have in your carry-on when you present to airport security. If you have any problems ask to see a supervisor.
  • You can ask and are entitled to a private screening to maintain your confidentiality.
  • In response to security issues at your departure site and destination site, travel restrictions can change often. Arrange 2 to 3 hours before your flight in order to pass through security in plenty of time.
  • With recent security concerns, the amount of liquids you are allowed to carry-on is limited and in some cases prohibited. Liquids, gels, and aerosol preparations are allowed as long as these are in 3-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are partially full are not permitted. All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Each traveler can use only one plastic bag. These bags must be removed from carry-on baggage and placed in a bin or on the conveyor belt for x-ray screening.
  • In some cases, the airline may ask the on-board staff to store your medicines and syringes during flight. Keep your medicines, syringes, and supplies together in a carry-on case or travel case to make passing them to and from the flight staff easier with less chance of losing medications or supplies.
  • If traveling abroad, become familiar with the laws, restrictions, and requirements of the countries you are traveling to. The US requires all passengers to declare medicines and syringes when traveling abroad.
  • Contact your airline if you need special assistance with transportation or other medical needs prior to boarding. Airlines are still responsible for offering assistance to passengers with extra needs. The TSA security officer’s job is limited to assistance with security screening. Ask the airline for a gate pass so that your companion or caretaker can accompany you to the gate if necessary.

Another question we get quite often about travel from our patients deals with having medications shipped to another address different than the home address supplied when placing the original prescription order. For those of our patients who winter away from home, or are taking extended vacations, we can have your order sent to your vacation home very easily. Just advise our Patient Service Representative when placing your order or refill and we can have your order sent to another address.

Happy Traveling!


A Multivitamin a Day May Keep Heart Attacks Away

Posted by on February 9th, 2011

According to new a study published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who took a one-a-day supplement were 40 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack than those in the study who didn’t use multivitamins as part of their daily health regime.

The study speculated that there are a number of ways in which a multivitamin may defend against heart disease, but cautioned that more research will need to be done in order to confirm the initial results. Multivitamins contain antioxidant nutrients – vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium – that could lessen artery damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are produced naturally when we breathe, but ultraviolet light, cigarette smoking, and the consumption of alcohol are other sources. In high amounts, free radicals contribute to the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries that, if ruptured, can cause a heart attack. Thus, if multivitamins are successful in reducing free radicals, it would suggest why the study showed a link with reducing heart disease.

Multivitamins also contain the B vitamins folate, B6 and B12, which have been shown to lower blood homocysteine, an amino acid made by the body during normal metabolism. High homocysteine is thought to damage artery walls and increase the risk of heart disease.

At Canada Drugs, we sell a lot of multivitamins, including popular brands like Centrum and MaxiVison. Each brand varies in terms of what vitamins and minerals are included in their formulation, so our pharmacist always advises any looking to begin taking over-the-counter multivitamins to read the labels, do some online research and talk to their doctor and of course, you can also speak to any of our pharmacists here at our Canadian Pharmacy, at any time as well.

It is recommended that whatever type of multivitamin that you settle on should have vitamins A, C, D, E, B1, B2, niacin, B6, folic acid and B12. As well as providing 100 per cent the recommended daily intake for B6 (1.3 to 1.7 mg), B12 (2.4 mcg) and folic acid (400 mcg).

Minerals like chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc are also important to be included in a multivitamin.