Traveling With a Bleeding Disorder

Dec 18, 2014
Specialist pharmacists, like those in the Accredo Bleeding Disorders Therapeutic Resource Center®, can help patients effectively manage their condition to live a full life that includes travel.
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  • Hemophilia

Major developments in care and treatment have significantly improved the quality of life for patients with bleeding disorders. Patients can now self-administer intravenous clotting factor with education and direction from a trained Accredo clinician rather than going to a treatment center for each infusion.

However, travel can still pose a challenge given the special treatment, storage and transportation requirements for these patients. Specialist pharmacists, like those in the Accredo Bleeding Disorders Therapeutic Resource Center®, can help patients effectively manage their condition to live a full life that includes travel.

Here are a few tips we share with patients who plan to travel:

Plan Ahead: If traveling long distance, make sure to discuss arrangements in advance with a physician or specialist pharmacist. Obtain emergency contact information for the physician and pharmacy.

Be Prepared: Not all hospitals carry clotting factor or the other medications used to treat bleeding disorders. Make sure to carry adequate clotting factor, other bleeding disorder medications, infusion supplies and – if possible – a few extra doses in case of a significant bleed or trauma. Many insurance providers require prior notice to be able to authorize extra doses of medication. Allow 3-4 weeks to make sure you have all the approvals in place. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information about treatment centers in the U.S. or hematologists that are able to provide medical intervention at or near travel destinations.

Keep Your Records Current: If traveling for extended periods, make sure the specialty pharmacy has accurate information about how to contact you and where to ship the factor during the travel period.

Carry Documentation: A letter from the hematologist is an important document of introduction and information for anyone treating the patient if medical intervention is necessary. This letter will also provide an emergency physician with treatment guidelines specific to the individual and the contact information of the patient’s personal hematologist and nurse coordinator.

Know the Rules: When using public transportation, air, bus or train, call ahead to ask about requirements associated with traveling with needles, syringes and other medication administration equipment. Sharps boxes are usually acceptable even if they contain used syringes. If traveling by air, download and complete the TSA Notification Card. Three days (or 72 hours) prior to air travel, contact TSA Cares at 855.787.2227 to help facilitate your trip through airport security.

Keep the Original Packaging: Keep all medications and supplies unopened and in the original boxes especially when traveling by air, which requires an inspection of carry-on bags or coolers if appropriate.  Medications and equipment should be accompanied by a letter from the physician and carried by the patient while traveling. Wear a Medic Alert at all times especially when traveling.

Store Carefully: Mini-fridges in hotels and other accommodations can have poor temperature control raising the risk of freezing the factor. Be careful to store medications at appropriate temperature.

For bleeding disorders patients traveling internationally, the World Federation of Hemophilia can provide information about treatment centers outside the U.S. If you have questions, talk to an Accredo specialist pharmacist.

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