Flying with Humira- Virginia to Japan

Phase one- Research- Humira is approved to treat Ankylosing Spondylitis in Japan, can be prescribed, is something I can afford, and can be brought into the country

Phase two- Vacation Override- getting additional Humira to bring to Japan

Phase three- Yakkan Shoumei- getting permission to bring Humira to Japan 

Phase four- transporting Humira from Virginia to Osaka

My Yakkan Shoumei application info is due to arrive in Osaka this Monday. It is incomplete without my flight itinerary, which I will have not long after my visa arrives. I am admittedly a little nervous about this going through quickly, but the only thing I can do is e-mail them the missing info when I get it and try not to sweat it until then.

While I still don’t have my Yakkan Shoumei in hand, I need to prepare for the actual transportation of my medicine. I began by calling Abbott Lab’s hotline (1-866-292-9801) for information about what I should do when travelling with Humira. I gave the nurse the details of my trip and she sent me an e-mail with some specific guidelines for long term travel.

You will need to store Humira in an insulated container with refrigerated cold packs and/or frozen ice packs between 36°F and 46°F. You will need the following supplies.

-Insulated container or cooler that can be closed securely.

-Refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature in the cooler.

-Refrigerated cold packs and/or frozen ice packs to keep the right temperature in the cooler.

-Sealable plastic bags – The Humira will need to be put in a plastic bag to keep it from getting wet. The extra bags may be used for adding ice to the container if needed.

So I will need to buy or procure a cooler and thermometer this week that I will carry on with me during my flight. Abbott also suggests that I take my cooler getup on test runs to figure out what I need to do to maintain the proper temperature.

-Estimate the total travel time (from the time you take it out of the refrigerator at home, until you place it back in refrigeration at your final destination). Consider the travel conditions and delays that may occur.

-Put the thermometer and ice packs inside the cooler, but not the Humira.

-After the planned amount of travel time, check the temperature inside the cooler. It should be between 36°F and 46°F.

-If you were unable to keep the temperature between 36°F and 46°F, consider using a cooler with better insulation or add ice packs.

-You will need to repeat the test if you had to change the number of ice packs or the cooler.

This post, written by a fellow Humira traveler, has been a big help as well. I was looking at this Insulpak which I found recommended here, but since I need to keep my Humira pens in their original boxes to minimize confusion, I think I’m going to need something bigger. At the moment I think my best bet will be to find a well-insulated cooler bag and fill it with ice packs.

This all a big pain in the butt, but I am very grateful that I have a medicine that can treat my symptoms so effectively that I’m able to travel. Thank you, science!!!

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