Medications in original bottles for air travel?

I take some meds. OK, I take a lot of medications. I haven’t traveled by air in a long time. Do I need to carry each individual med bottle with my name and the med name on it, or can I carry my nifty little weekly pill case? Not that it makes any difference to the people who check carry on baggage, but I’m just going on a short flight within California. They should be more amused by my titanium hip than a few meds in a case, but you never know.

I have always read it is safer to carry the meds in the original bottles, just in case. The police are much less likely to be suspicious that original bottles with a doctor’s name on it than of random unidentifed pills.

I take lots of meds, and never keep them in their original containers (it’s not very space- and weight-efficient. I travel once or twice a year, usually out-of-country, and have never had a problem.

I know you don’t plan on visiting Florida, but since that is the state statutes I know best (and used to enforce), I give you section 893.13(6)(a):

Other states might well have similar regulations. So, the issue becomes: you’re carrying a dozen or hundred pills with you, and someone asks you to prove they are a) yours, and/or b) they were lawfully prescribed. A bit dificult to do without the original containers.

Flown a lot over the last few years with my BP pills in their pill-a-day holders. Never a problem. When I was on Ativan (a controlled substance), I always carried it in the original container.

My inlaws just flew to Florida and take LOTS of meds each. They just loaded up the pill a day things and didn’t have any problems that I know of. I take imitrex (in a vial with syringe). If I’m going somewhere I just tear off the label from the pharmacy and bring that with a business card from the doctor. I’ve never had to use it, but I figure it there’s a problem they can just call my doctor, or at least Walgreens to verify it.

Would bringing along a paper copy of the presciption for each med instead of the physical bottle be an option?

That’s always the advice of our government here in Australia.


Just to add a bit for those travelling overseas, here is an excerpt from Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations:

I know this doesn’t apply in this case, but may help others.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or a doctor, nor do I work for the DEA.

My understanding is that not all prescription drugs are controlled substances, just ones with abuse potential. Here’s a DEA list of controlled substances. Ones you might be likely to be prescribed would include benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax, or something similar), drugs for sleep problems (Lunesta, Ambien, or similar), Ritalin or other medications for ADD, a weight-loss medication like Meridia, or pain medications. If I were prescribed any of those, I’d keep them in their original bottles with a prescription with my name on it.

If I had some sort of injectable medicine and needles with me, I’d make sure to have the original prescription for that along.

I wouldn’t carry large quantities of pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) with me- a lot of places, including California, are worried about that being used to make meth.

With all of the preceding three, I’d make sure to keep them in my carry-on luggage, and not leave them unattended in a hotel room- they might be attractive targets for thieves.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry too much.

Note: All this assumes you’re travelling within the US. Different countries have different rules.

The problem I have with this is when I go out of town, it’s for 4 nights max. I really don’t want to carry around a large bottle of Ambien and a large bottle of Xanex. I get a 90 day supply at a time.

The last time I went out of town was for one night. I just had my prescription refilled. No way am I carrying 270 Xanex and 90 Ambiens with me. Even worse is a new prescription with only a few pills, it would look like I had sold them.

The bottles are huge and I’m not carrying them around with me, nor do I want to leave them in the hotel, or even in my car where it can get to over 100 degrees easily every day.

I live in Florida and the pharmacist said it was unwise to carry loose Xanex in my purse. I’m just living on the edge and carry what I need for the day or duration of my out of town stays.

Who will be my penpal when I go to prision and serve hard time for my felony?

I have carried Xanax and Lortab with me. I pulled the labels off of my prescription bottles, stuck them to a piece of paper and carried that in my wallet.
My purse is way too small to carry bottles (and I don’t need the whole bottle) but I’d rather have proof that it’s prescribed to me, if for some reason it needed to be proven.