During the summer, many patients with chronic myeloid lymphoma (CML) who are taking oral chemotherapy drugs have questions about taking their drugs while travelling. What advice can we give them regarding this?
There are many things for patients and their oncology care teams to think about regarding travel while undergoing treatment with oral chemotherapy.
When travelling by air, patients should keep their medicines in their carry-on bag. This protects the patient in case of lost luggage, and prevents the medicine from being damaged by extreme heat or cold. The TSA web site provides detailed information about travelling with medicines and other medical devices at www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures.
Medicines that need to be refrigerated can be stored in a cooler, and many hotels can provide a refrigerator, if needed (although patients should call ahead to confirm availability).
If travelling by car, patients should be sure to keep their medicine with them at all times, as car interiors can heat up very quickly during the summer months.
All medicines should be kept in their original containers while travelling, for easy identification if necessary. Patients travelling internationally may want to bring a prescription and/or recent note from their oncologist that states the medicine’s generic name and the reason for taking it.
Another important consideration is to have a sufficient supply of the medicine to last their trip. Most insurance providers can do a one-time “vacation override” to permit a patient to get an early fill of their medicine.
Importantly, patients should bring more than enough medicine to cover their trip to account for potential travel delays. Depending on the destination and length of their trip, patients may wish to bring enough medicine to cover an additional week or more.