My husband and I will be traveling to Italy on the Lake Tour mid September. My husband takes 12 different medications. I have read that the prescriptions must be in their original bottles. Is that true? He receives three month supplies of these medications so taking the bottles will be more than we need and bulky.

If anyone has traveled to Italy with prescription medications, any advice would be most appreciated.



  • My wife and I only use the weekly pill boxes and have never been challenged during our many trips to Europe. We do use Saran wrap to avoid spillage, and pack in our carry-on bag given problems with lost luggage.
  • I take mine in little pill bags from CVS and have never been questioned.
  • Hello Barbara, until recently I always traveled with all my individual bottles, but nowadays, I chance it and I travel with them in a day by day plastic weekly case which is easier and quicker to take and it is obvious whether I have taken my pills or not. I carry with me a description of each of my pills, color shape and anything written on them and a copy of the actual names and any generics and doses with me. I also bring several extra days of pills. With the availability of the Internet it should be possible for any pill to be identified from the available medical websites, especially when you know what the pill is in the first place. If an inspector wants to question you, it has never ever happened to me and I have travelled extensively, I have never had any medications looked at. If you do not want to chance this method, then ask your friendly Pharmacist to label and give you some extra pill bottles so you can put the amount you need for the trip in each one. I have done this. or, save your empty bottles next time and put the pills you need in those or vice versa, I have done this too. I have confidence that if my pills are stolen or something like that. Or I am hospitalized, then modern communications should enable insurance company Pharmacists, or doctors to keep me covered until I return home, or even good old American Express might ship overnight. I am going to Italy myself in September, and I am sure to let everyone know if my pills get taken from me. I hope this gives you some ideas. Australia seems to be one of the stricter countries, but I did not have any problems there either. On the other hand many years ago, my mother had packed tea bags in a aluminum foil package and she was questioned about that and had to open them for customs.
  • You're right Barbara that the official line is to pack in the original containers. Unless he has some narcotics or something using syringes, I think you can get away with streamlining.

    I've heard of plenty of travelers using alternatives like ziplock bags. You can use the snack size ones, special ones from the pharmacy or go to a craft store that sells bead supplies and look for the small ones meant for jewelry. The advantage is you can pack a day's supply in each and toss after you take them. You can also write on them to help keep track.

    I only have a few prescriptions so I use the smaller bottles. Anything that normally comes in a large bottle, just peel off the label from the pharmacy and stick it to a smaller bottle. Your pharmacy might be able to give you some. I put all prescription meds in a larger quart size bag along with copies of anything that didn't come in a bottle - ointments, nasal spray. This is separate from the TSA 3-1-1 bag.

    For non-prescription pills, I use an inexpensive 7-day pill container, fill each compartment with a different med, and use a permanent pen to write the name e.g. tylenol, melatonin. Do wrap in cling film or a ziplock as these containers open easily.

    What ever system you use, the main thing is to pack at least a few days more than you think you'll need and to have a written copy of the prescription (the label or a printout) with both the brand and generic name on it in case you have to go looking for more.

    FYI, a good idea for travel and any other time, have a copy of all your prescriptions with dosages in your wallet along with your spouses. In case of emergency (and I've been there on this one) the first thing they'll ask you is what prescriptions does the patient take. It's also handy when you have a doctors appt to fill out forms.

  • I always take a week's supply of prescription meds in one of the 7 day pill cases, with extras in zip lock sandwich or snack bags. I take prescription meds both in the morning and at night, so I have different cases and zip lock bags for each. I took copies of my prescriptions on our first trip overseas. Although the pharmacist gave the copies to me, he wasn't thrilled to do so. Since in our numerous trips overseas I've never been questioned about them, I no longer do so. I do take extra pills in zip locks in case we're delayed in returning home. However, although the absence of taking my pills for a few days is not life threatening, I most certainly want to take them, especially my blood pressure and cholesterol pills. I've worried more about the soap powder I've had in zip lock bags than I have about my meds. However, I've never been questioned about that either.
  • Just returned from my European river cruise. No one was interested in what was in my suitcase or carry-on except when you go through the X-ray security scan.

    I have two prescriptions and had each in a ziplock bag, enough for 3 weeks with a copy of the prescription in the ziplock bag!
  • This topic got me thinking further and I found a useful article. there is even a section you can click on to see what many individual county's rules are, including Italy. I also read elsewhere that it is not absolutely necessary to carry the drugs in original containers as long as you have a prescription with you. The article says most problems arise when people are carrying narcotocs and in some countries medications that affect the Central Nervous System for such things as Epilepsy and Parkinson's.

    My other idea was the following and I don't know why I never thought of this before. I used my cell phone to take a photo of each pill by it's prescription bottle, not only does that have the name and generic of the drug, it has the prescription number and the Pharmacy name and phone number and the Dr's name who prescribed it. This can be emailed to yourself and then filed in your email list as Medications since having your cell pnhone stolen would be a problem with relying on this method entirely. I have become so used to putting my meds in the weekly pill boxes so I am not messing around with individual pill bottles every morning that this also helps me remember what each pill is and what it looks like, useful for spouses to know too and Dr's in an emergency.
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