The Rules for Medication on an Airplane
Most travelers probably wouldn't think twice before chucking a bottle of prescribed antibiotics into their luggage, but packing medication for a flight requires a little more thought than that. Generally speaking, it's OK to travel with medicine, but only within parameters set forth by the Transportation Security Administration. Know the regulations on your medication before hitting security at the airport.
Tips for Packing Medication
According to the TSA, travelers can bring medications in pill or solid forms onto airplanes in unlimited amounts as long as they're screened. If your medication is liquid, you don't have to follow the rules that apply to other liquids in carry-ons. For example, you're permitted to pack medically necessary liquids in carry-on containers larger than 3.4 ounces as long as the medication is in a "reasonable quantity" for your flight. You also don't have to place liquid medications in a zip-close bag. However, if you do have a medically necessary liquid in your carry-on, you have to give your TSA agent a heads-up about it at the beginning of the security screening process.
The TSA recommends packing medication in a carry-on in the event that you should need it on the flight, but travelers are permitted to pack their medicines in either their carry-ons or checked luggage. Medication is usually screened by an X-ray at security, but you can request to have yours inspected rather than X-rayed if you want. Make sure to make this request before sending any of your items through the X-ray tunnel.
Prescription Medication on Planes
If you're taking prescription medicine with you on a flight, the TSA doesn't require that it be stored in its prescription bottle. However, each U.S. state has its own individual laws regarding the labeling of prescription medication, so if you're traveling domestically within the United States, educate yourself on the state laws you need to know before traveling with your medications.
Travelers flying internationally with prescription medication should keep in mind that their medicines could be considered illegal substances under local laws in other countries. If this is a concern, contact the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit to make sure your medications are OK to take abroad. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides traveler health information, including information on drug regulations in specific destinations.
Additionally, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has guidelines for people traveling with internationally-controlled drugs. If your treatment falls under this category, check the UNODC website to see how your medications are regulated on an international basis.