How to Take Medication Through Airport Security

Family traveling together
  Ariel Skelley / Getty Images 

Airport security rules often appear complicated and seem to change frequently. Keeping up can be difficult, confusing, and sometimes unnerving, especially if you are traveling with essential prescription drugs or other medication.

To make things easier, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency charged with keeping passengers safe and secure on airlines and other modes of transportation in the United States, offer the following tips for travelers taking all types of medication through security checkpoints:

  • All medications (such as pills, injectables, or homeopathic remedies) and associated supplies (such as syringes, Sharps disposal containers, pre-loaded syringes, jet injectors, pens, infusers, etc.) are allowed through the airport security checkpoint once they have been screened.
  • AtroPen, an auto-injection system that can help treat many emergency conditions (such as low heart rate, breathing problems, and excess saliva related to insecticide, nerve gas, or mushroom poisoning) is also allowed.
  • All medications should be clearly labeled so they can be identified.
  • Medications in daily dosage containers are allowed through the checkpoint once they have been screened.
  • Medication and related medical supplies are normally X-rayed. However, TSA now allows travelers the option of requesting a visual inspection of their medications and associated supplies.

If You Prefer a Visual Inspection Instead of Screening

To request and receive a visual inspection of your medications and medical supplies, follow this procedure:

  • You must request a visual inspection before the screening process begins; otherwise, your medications and supplies will undergo X-ray inspection.
  • If you would like to take advantage of this option, separate your medication and associated supplies from your other property. Put all medication and medical supplies in a separate pouch or bag when you approach the screener at the walk-through metal detector.
  • Request the visual inspection and hand your medication pouch or bag to the screener.
  • To prevent contamination or damage to your medication, supplies and/or fragile medical materials, you will be asked at the security checkpoint to display, handle, and repack your own medication and supplies during the visual inspection process.
  • Any medication and associated supplies that cannot be cleared visually must be submitted for X-ray screening. If you refuse, you will not be permitted to carry your medications and related supplies into the sterile area.

If you have other questions as you proceed through security, ask TSA personnel at the scene for assistance. Be courteous and cooperative, and keep in mind that your goal is to get through each airport security checkpoint as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Watch Now: How to Choose The Right Partner for Life