traveling with syringes

Yes, You Can Bring Your TRT on Planes. Here’s How.

Everything you need to know, including what to expect at TSA.
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As if travel wasn’t complicated enough already, taking a trip when you have a medical condition that calls for regular injections only adds to the headache. You may wonder, “Can I bring my syringes on an airplane?” And, “How can I be safe about it?”

We’ve got you covered with this handy guide to traveling safely with syringes.

Why Travel With Syringes?

Lots of males have to account for injectable medications in their travel plans, including those with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, migraines, multiple sclerosis, high cholesterol, and—of course—those taking testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

What is TRT? It’s a prescribed course of treatment for men who don’t produce a healthy amount of testosterone on their own. The medical term for this condition is hypogonadism, but you may know it as “low T.” As T levels naturally drop about 1 percent per year beginning around the age of 30, hypogonadism tends to be more common among older men. That said, more than one out of four men over the age of 30 have low T.

When testosterone levels drop too low, you can experience a range of unpleasant side effects, including [1]:

  • Low sex drive
  • Depression
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Loss of muscular strength
  • Trouble concentrating and remembering things
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Increased body fat
  • Infertility

 

To combat these side effects and get testosterone levels back to a healthy range, doctors often recommend testosterone replacement therapy.

TRT can be given through a variety of methods, but many men up their T by self-administering testosterone injections every 10 to 14 days [1]. If you’re in that camp, you may need to pack syringes when you travel, though it will always depend on where you are in your treatment schedule and how long you’re traveling.

Can You Travel With Syringes?

As syringes play a central role in many therapies—including TRT—you are absolutely allowed to travel with them. We’ll get into some safety practices shortly, but for now, let’s quickly review what you need to know if you’re planning to bring syringes on an airplane.

You can pack syringes in either your checked or carry-on bag. However, there are some requirements to understand if you opt to carry on [2]:

  • The syringes have to be accompanied by your injectable medication
  • You must declare the syringes and medication to TSA officers at the security checkpoint so they can inspect them; let the agent know about your injectable medication and separate your supplies from your other belongings before screening starts
  • Your medications don’t have to be labeled, but taking this extra step beforehand may speed up the security process
As syringes play a central role in many therapies—including TRT—you are absolutely allowed to travel with them.

What Happens at TSA Screening With Your TRT Prescription?

It’ll be helpful to have your medications and syringes in a clear plastic bag that you remove and place in plain view within the TSA bin. It wouldn’t hurt to include a copy of your prescription in that bag, too, but this isn’t a requirement. You can tell the TSA agent that you’ve got a prescription medication that includes syringes, too.

The TSA, per its posted regulations regarding medications, may opt to swab your vials:

“TSA officers may test liquids, gels or aerosols for explosives or concealed prohibited items. If officers are unable to use X-ray to clear these items, they may ask to open the container and transfer the content to a separate empty container or dispose of a small quantity of the content, if feasible.”

How Do You Explain TRT Vials and Syringes to Unfamiliar TSA Agents?

In short, you don’t have to educate the agents on testosterone replacement therapy. In instances like this, it can be helpful to show a copy of your prescription for testosterone and the accompanying syringes. All you need to state is that it’s a prescribed medication and that should suffice.

Tips for Traveling Safely With Syringes

First, be sure to include these items on your packing list:

  • As many syringes as you’ll need while you’re away (consider packing an extra syringe or two just in case)
  • A travel-sized sharps disposal container*
  • Your medication (labeled to expedite the security process)

 

*A sharps disposal container is a receptacle made of puncture-resistant plastic with leak-resistant sides and bottom and a puncture-resistant lid. These are used to safely dispose of used syringes and other sharp devices people use to manage their medical conditions. They come in a variety of sizes, including smaller travel sizes. You can generally find FDA-cleared sharps containers at pharmacies, medical supply companies, health care providers, and online [3]. More info on sharps disposal containers can be found here [4].

You’ll have to remove your unused syringes and medication from your carry-on so they can be screened separately at the security checkpoint. To make things easier, pack your supplies in a clear, sealable plastic bag.

How to Dispose of Syringes

It doesn’t matter if you’re at home, at the office, or on the road, it’s essential to dispose of your used syringes safely. If you don’t, you risk injuring other people and spreading infections that can cause serious health conditions. The most common infections that spread via used syringes are hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV [3].

Never place loose syringes in hotel or public trash cans or recycling bins, and don’t flush them down the toilet [3]. To get rid of your used syringes safely, immediately put them in your sharps disposal container.

What to Do If You Poke Someone With Your Used Syringe

Should you accidentally poke someone with your used syringe, help them wash the exposed area with soap and water immediately. Then, get them medical help right away by calling a nearby hospital [3].

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