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February 16, 2007

Insulin, Traveling

Question from Mielec, Poland:

My eight year old daughter was diagnosed about two years ago. We are planning to visit my sister in Arizona for the first time since my daughter was diagnosed. She is on three insulins produced by NovoNordisk--Actrapid, Insulatard and NovoRapid. Will I be able to purchase these type of penfills in the states? Will my sister's doctor be able to give her prescriptions just in case something goes wrong with the insulin that I will bring along with me? I'm a little worried be cause I'm not sure if the insulin will survive a 10 hour plane trip.

Answer:

You should have no problem with taking your insulin on the plane. Take it with you and do not put it in your checked baggage, however. It would also be a good idea to have a letter from your local doctor verifying the diagnosis of diabetes, need for insulin, test strips, meters, glucagon, etc. This will sometimes also be helpful to get through security checkpoints, but usually it is not a problem.

You should be able to get all NovoNordisk products in most pharmacies except for very small towns all around the U.S., although you may need prescriptions. Your local doctor can also give you copies of your own prescriptions to carry with you, but these may not be “legal” in the U.S. If you are in any medical troubles at any time, most hospital emergency rooms would be able to assist or have access to either an adult or a pediatric endocrinology consultation. They could also rewrite prescriptions if such are needed, lost, etc.

Having said all of this, traveling is usually quite easy and you should have no major problems accessing medical care or supplies throughout the U.S. and 99.9% of our patients travel without any difficulties whatsoever. Have a good and safe journey!

SB

[Editor’s comment: Should you need to get insulin in the U.S., NovoRapid is called NovoLog, Actrapid is called Regular, and Insulatard is called NPH.

BH]