Managing Transplant Medications During Vacation

Family Packing the car
This blog post is written by Rebecca Farrell BSN, RN, CCTN, CCTC, Abdominal Organ Transplant Coordinator, with contributions from Erin Ticehurst, PharmD, and Jennifer Trofe-Clark, Pharm D, FCCP, BCPS.

Traveling sometime soon? Your transplant medications are a big part of keeping you healthy, so it's important to stay on track with them, even when you are on vacation. As you prepare for fun, here are some guidelines for managing your medications while you are away from home.

Packing list

First, when you are writing out your list of things to pack, make medications your number one priority. Next, check each of your medication bottles, making sure you have enough doses to last your entire vacation, including travel time and including an additional two days’ worth of medications so that you’re prepared for unforeseen travel delays.


Once you’ve added medications to your packing list and checked your medication bottles to ensure the doses will last through your time away – and a couple of days more – it’s important to have a plan for refills. Be sure to refill medications at least one week in advance.

Packing day

On packing day, remember to actually pack your medications!  After all, they are more important that most of the items that are in your bag and let’s face it, we all over pack, don’t we?  It’s helpful to use pill boxes since they are much more compact than pill bottles; this leaves more room for you to over pack other items such as protective sunscreen.

Please note, if you’re traveling by plane, transplant medications should be packed in carry-on bag and not in a suitcase that becomes checked luggage. That way, if your checked luggage gets lost, you’ll still have your meds with you and you'll be able to take them on schedule.

While on vacation

Once you’ve made it to your destination, set SMS text alerts to remind you to take your medications.  Beach time, dinner and family time are important, but it's critical for you to take your medications consistently.

If you’re traveling to a different time zone, please contact your transplant coordinator to learn when to take your transplant medications.

Storing your transplant medications properly is also important. Remember: transplant medications must be stored out of direct sunlight, away from humidity and at room temperature (59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit).

Special note: 

Most importantly, have fun! Planning your medications in advance will increase the time for you to enjoy yourself.

If you have any questions, please contact your transplant coordinator before vacation begins so he or she can easily assist you.

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The Penn Medicine Transplant blog features short postings with news about the transplant program at Penn Medicine, notices about upcoming events and health information. Subscribe to the blog and stay connected with Penn's Transplant Program!

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