Travel with Enbrel - need help!

** Originally posted by JenJen **

Hi Everyone--
I am a silent member here : ) ..but I do need some experienced advice from the board right now.

I am a 40 year old mom, living in DC, and I had psoriasis since 17 years old. It got very bad after my second child -- probably 95 percent coverage. Long story short, I went on enbrel and have complete (!) clearance. The arthritis went away but now seems to be coming back (that may be due to me leaving my shots out too long, I think, or some lapses)

So, I am traveling abroad, to Spain, on August 13th for 3 weeks. I am on a regimen of shots, twice weekly. My problem is -- how the heck do I get the enbrel to spain intact?!

Enliven services were fairly useless. They said you have to maintain the enbrel at a certain temp., that the cooling pack they use works 2-3 hours (not the whole plain flight), no dry ice, no ice in contact with enbrel, etc. So! These are my issues:

How do I get needles and syringes past customs in this day and age? Where do I put three weeks worth, in a cooler no less? How do I maintain the temperature? Obviously, the fridge on board will not have room for this big cooler!

Has anyone done it successfully? How?!

THanks for your thoughts
Jenny

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8 replies. Join the discussion

** Originally posted by MikeK **

Hi JenJen!

I don't think that we've met, so let me take this opportunity to welcome you to the Board. :cool: Nice to meet you. TiffanyFig (who hasn't posted here in a VERY long time) asked the same question when she went to a wedding in Portugal. Here's a link the that discussion: http://www.psoriasis.org/forum/showthread.php?t=6406&highlight=portugal.

Hopefully, other people who've travelled with Enbrel will come along and share some more recent experiences with you.

Mike

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** Originally posted by RichJ **

hi jenjen,
i don't think we meet and i would like to welcome you to the p family. you will met alot of wonderful people on here and find alot of great info. welcome and nice to meet you.

have a good night all

richard

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** Originally posted by rozeofgold **

Did your Enbrel come in one of those small styrofoam coolers? maybe that would make the cooling pack last longer. check with your airline. perhaps they have options for shipping the medicine you need. i know the air cargo space is much cooler than the passenger space.

I've seen other posts on here about traveling with Enbrel but i'm not sure about going overseas.

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** Originally posted by strmchaser **

Hi Jenny, I went on a 3 week trip here in the US, and kept my Enbrel in an ice chest the entire time. First find a refrigerator thermometer (at Walmart). Walmart also sells little coolers. You don't mention whether you are on the premixed injections or the ones you have to make. If your on the premixed leave the injections in the original box. If the injections are the ones you make take them out of the box (the boxes are too big). Put your shots in double plastic bags. Get the good kind that have the little zipper. Then wrap the shots in bubble wrap. Then put the shots in another plastic bag. Put the thermometer in a plastic bag also. Put ice in the bottom of the cooler, put in your shots and the thermometer on top, then cover with ice. That should last the entire flight. I would drain the water out of the cooler and add more ice twice a day. I would also bring 4 freezer packs along (just in case) and extra plastic bags. Make sure you are carrying along your prescription for Enbrel, some Drs. will also write a note for you. They are used to diabetics so you sholud have no trouble with customs ect. The only problem is that once your in Spain you will probably have trouble finding ice. Are you going to be touring on staying in one spot? If your touring, most big hotels have refrigs. maybe they could freeze your ice packs every night and allow you to put you Enbrel in their refrig. I would also suggest getting the premade shots for the time your gone, your Dr. can arrange for that. I became quite good at making sure the shots were the right temp, the plastic bags and bubble wrap prevents the Enbrel from freezing. Sorry this is so long. Let me know how you do. Linda

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** Originally posted by abbyroad **

you have already received some great advice here thus far, especially if you clicked onto MikeK's link to travelling with Enbrel. The blue ice packs in a soft sided cooler sounds like a great idea.
I am a flight attendant for AA and fly international as well. What seems to be a common misconception here with these posts are the mention of a "fridge" on board. There is no actual fridge on board airplanes. Our food and beverage carts are insulated, along with dry ice packs held inside of the carts and then slid into big modules that have a chilling fan that blows though the entire module. Call your airline and ask the approximate flying time to Spain, calculating any stopovers and throw in possible delays, then you will know approximately how much you will need as far as ice packs etc.
It isn't always cooler in cargo if you wanted to check your bags with Enbrel in it, especially during the summer months. You might also ask a flight attendant if she could keep your cooler (provided it is not too big and can fit inside an actual cart), in a cart in the galley, preferably one that is chilled. And if they do, remind them of your medication in a cart, we sometimes forget! This will keep your Enbrel cooler longer. As far as going through customs with needles, syringes, medications, make sure you have a note from your doctor to carry these on you and be prepared to spend some time through security having your ID and note ready to show.
FYI, go ahead and take your shoes off as well...you don't have to mind you, but trust me, as many times as I go through security at airports, if you don't, they will pull you aside anyway and wand you!! :eek: :p
good luck and have a wonderful time in Spain!
Abby

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** Originally posted by strmchaser **

Just FYI, I tried the soft cooler that Enbrel sent, it didn't work that well. My best friend and I were traveling together and she's on Enbrel too, for RA. She had the Enbrel you have to mix yourself and I had the pre-mixed. When we found out that the cooler that Enliven sent wasn't working that well we stopped at Walmart to buy another one. The one we bought was red and white and cost under $9.00 (it's plastic). It made a world of difference. Its also pretty small, so can be carried aboard the airplane easily. Linda

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** Originally posted by MPLSguy **

I have traveled both all over the US and Internationally with my Embrel and Insulin (Type 2) and had no problems at all. Buy a THERMO cooler from Target ($28) and it uses thermo conducting to refrigerate the inside. It works on both 12v DC for car and 120/240v AC, so if you got abroad all you need is the plug convertor. The THERMO cooler is about the size of a lunch box so it can be packed in checked baggage. As for carry on, you can use any insulated container with the "Blue Ice" packs that will keep everything cold until you can get to your hotel or where your going. I have been gone as long as 3 weeks to europe and had no problems of any kind, especially with my Insulin, which was far more improtant then the Embrel.

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** Originally posted by strmchaser **

MPLSguy, What a great idea! I have yet to travel to Europe with my Enbrel. You read my earlier post about here in the states. I noticed when I was in Europe last that no one has ice! I will be getting Thermo soon. Thanks Linda

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