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Allergy Medication and Airport Security

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Updated February 04, 2008

Epipen (Epinephrine Autoinjector)

You can take your epinephrine autoinjector through airport security if you follow DOT regulations.

Epipen Photo © Wikimedia Commons

United States Department of Transportation regulations do allow you to bring medications, including injectable epinephrine (like EpiPen or TwinJect), through airport security. However, you should be aware of some DOT regulations before you fly.

If you're traveling with prescription medication, always be sure your medication includes a label from the manufacturer or the pharmacy where you had your prescription filled. This is especially true for syringes, which are only allowed on board with "documented medical need" (established by such a label).

If your pharmacy labels the box in which you received your epinephrine or asthma inhaler (rather than the medication itself), be sure to take the box with you as proof of the medication's identity. Alternately, a letter from your physician including your name, birthdate, and a short statement of medical need will suffice as documentation of medical need. You should also consider getting a letter if the name on your pharmacy label doesn't match the name on your boarding pass. While the TSA does not require this sort of letter, it is "recommended."

Liquid medication, including over-the-counter medication, is allowed through airline security. However, be aware of TSA requirements that all liquids in carry-on baggage be transported in 3-ounce containers and that all liquids fit in one quart-sized bag. If your medication is in a larger container, or if it does not fit in your quart-sized bag, you should still be able to take it through security, but you will need to declare the medications before sending your bags through screening.

If you do not wish to have your medication X-rayed, request a visual inspection as soon as you enter the screening area. However, do be aware that if TSA screeners cannot authenticate your medicine with a visual screening, you will be asked to have your medication X-rayed and will not be allowed to the gate with your medication until it has been through X-ray machines.

Finally, know that medical supplies are an exception to restrictions on the number of carry-on bags you can bring onto a flight. This means that, for example, if you normally carry your epinephrine in a small bag or a pouch, it should be allowed on your flight even if you're already bringing one full-sized carry-on and a personal item.

Sources:

United States Transportation Security Authority. "TSA: Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions." Internet Resource. 3 Feb. 2008.

United States Department of Transportation. "Fact Sheet: Steps Taken to Ensure New Security Requirements Preserve and Respect the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities." Internet Resource. 3 Feb. 2008.

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