Medication in hand luggage

What is allowed on the plane and what belongs in the suitcase?

It is not always only preventive "home remedies" that one likes to pack in the first-aid kit. Often you need medicines or drugs on the road, for example pills or tablets that have been prescribed to you before or that you have been taking for a long time for health reasons. Since it happens from time to time that luggage is lost from the hold or does not find its way to the right plane, it is advisable to carry urgently needed medicines in your hand luggage so that they are always at hand if needed.

As everyone knows, the regulations for hand luggage are often very strict and change again and again, even at irregular times. It is therefore advisable to find out about the current regulations before departure. A brief overview of the most important rules regarding "medicines on the plane" can be found below.

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Medikamente im Handgepäck, Flugzeug

Prescription drugs in liquid and solid form

If prescription medication is carried on the plane, it may be transported in your hand luggage - regardless of whether it is a liquid or solid substance, such as tablets or pills. However, you should always take a certificate with you confirming that the medication you are carrying has been prescribed by your family doctor and that it is necessary to take it with you. For the required English-language certificate, there are numerous blank forms on the Internet, which the family doctor only has to fill out (e.g. on the website of the ADAC). These certificates look particularly official if they also contain the stamp and signature of your doctor. They can also be extremely useful if you need medical assistance abroad. Because the form then shows correctly and quickly which medications you usually have to take. hand luggage tablets

TIP: For liquid medications, the confirmation also eliminates the quantity restriction for liquid substances in carry-on baggage.

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Narcotics in hand luggage

Narcotics may also be transported in your hand luggage if you can prove their medical necessity by means of an appropriate form. Even if such a template is carried, you should inform yourself in advance about the current regulations of the destination, because many countries are subject to very strict import rules. Thus, it should not be a problem to carry certain necessary tablets in your hand luggage.

TIP: Take only the amount of pills, tablets or blisters in your hand luggage, which you need for the trip. A larger package can then quickly exceed the approved requirement for 30 days.

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Syringes on board

Syringes are generally regarded as potential weapons and may not normally be carried in hand luggage. Here again, the requirement to carry a medical certificate justifying the need for a syringe applies (e.g. for diabetics or air travelers with a risk of thrombosis). Anyone wishing to take a blood-thinning injection as a prophylactic measure should consult their doctor in advance and then take the injection in exactly the same way.

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Thrombosis or heparin injection before long-haul flights?

In general, there is a basic risk of travel thrombosis on long flights. If one belongs to the risk group, the family doctor will usually recommend a small dose of heparin before the flight. In general, the family doctor should be consulted in advance when injections are used. In principle, the active ingredient has been well researched and can normally be used without hesitation in smaller doses. Should one injure oneself on board on a sharp edge, this does not change the blood clotting with smaller doses. It should be remembered, however, that placing a syringe in the abdominal fat is certainly a source of germs. The syringe for the return trip should be carried in the suitcase. Even if the effect does not last forever, we recommend placing syringes before departure in peace in the hotel, or at home, because here the circumstances are much more hygienic than at the airport. Also, transporting a syringe for the return flight for several weeks somewhere in the suitcase is probably not the most hygienic matter. So, discuss the dosage and the time of the intake with your family doctor beforehand and then transport it carefully accordingly, then there is not much in the way of enjoying the flight.

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Non-prescription drugs

Officially, only prescription medications that you need during the flight may be carried in your hand luggage. However, there should be no problems with tablets, powders and capsules for your own use if you carry them in your hand luggage. Liquid medications (e.g. cough syrup, gargle solutions, ointments, gels and tinctures) that have not been prescribed and have a volume of more than 100 milliliters must be transported in the suitcase and are not allowed in the hand luggage.

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Back home - with medication in the luggage

Did you stock up on inexpensive medications while on vacation? Often these are much cheaper abroad than in the home country. If this is the case, then you should consider the following when taking them with you:

  • Medicines that you have purchased outside the EU must not exceed the usual personal needs (usually 3 months).
  • It should also be noted that the imported drugs are not counterfeit. Because you are not allowed to import such plagiarism (as well as other plagiarism e.g. bags, watches, shirts ...).
  • In addition, such purchases and taking them is strongly discouraged anyway, because you do not know what quality or ingredients the counterfeits have.
  • Similar import bans apply, of course, to substances used in doping. You can find detailed information on the respective import regulations on the website of your country of origin.
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Frequently asked questions

Are medications allowed to be carried in hand luggage?
Over-the-counter as well as prescription medications are generally allowed in carry-on baggage on airplanes. However, it is recommended to carry them in their original packaging and together with a doctor's certificate or prescription to prove that they are for personal use. It is also advisable to familiarize yourself with the rules of each airport and airline before flying, as there may be differences. Translated with (free version)
Syringes in hand luggage?
Syringes are always considered potential weapons and may not be transported in hand luggage without medical necessity. Therefore, it is mandatory to have a proof for carrying them.
Non-prescription medications in carry-on luggage?
Proof is usually not required and smaller quantities can be carried in hand luggage. However, liquids over 100ml must be in the suitcase.