Traveling with A Biologic Medication

Many of our patients have indicated they are planning a vacation over the winter months to a sunny destination. It is important to note that medication requiring refrigeration is to be kept at 2-8oC during your journey. To ensure the medication is not lost in transport, it must be in your carry-on bag and never under the plane where temperature changes are uncertain.  

Carrying empty Ziploc bags with you is also a good idea. You can get ice from the in-flight attendant to help maintain the temperature in your cooler bag, should your ice packs not be enough for the length of the trip. Soft-sided cooler bags may help maintain fridge temperature for 6-8 hours. However, you may be in transit much longer from the time you leave your home until you arrive at your destination.  In preparation for your trip, you may wish to test your cooler using a small thermometer along with ice packs to mimic the time you will be in transit. This will ensure that when you put the medication in the cooler at the time of travel, you can trust it will remain within the suggested temperature range (2-8oC). 

Biologic medications differ in the amount of time that they can remain at room temperature, ranging from 4 hours to 60 days. If you inadvertently leave your medication out of the fridge, contact us immediately for further direction. Depending on the medication and the amount of time it was left at room temperature, it may not be appropriate to return it to the fridge.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for the pertinent information needed for your specific medication during travel. We are also happy to provide a travel note which may be needed when going through security with a fluid-containing injectable device. Of most importance is to calculate how much medication you will need while away and to order this well in advance of your travel date.

Bon Voyage!

Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain, and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

Kunal Bhatt, RPh, PharmD, HBSc is a staff pharmacist for Charlton Health. As a 2020 PharmD graduate from the University of Toronto, Kunal possesses a diverse range of experiences from working in hospital and community pharmacy settings. Since January 2021, Kunal was heavily invested in contributing to the efforts against COVID-19 by administering upwards of 5000 COVID-19 vaccines at William Osler Health System’s vaccination clinics. 

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