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Keeping meds cold during long flight
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Keeping meds cold during long flight

I will be traveling to Europe next month and I was wondering how to keep the Peg cold while on the flight.  I don’t think the ice packs will stay cold from the time I leave home plus 3 hours wait at the airport and an 8 hour flight.   Anyone have any ideas?
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I don’t know which meds you’re taking; Pegasys or PEG-Intron, but you might consider calling their patient hotline and bring this up with their educating nurse. From the years I’ve been in here, I don’t believe an *excursion* to room temperature for a day or two will break down the proteins involved. Northern hemisphere=cool ambient temperatures? Better to confirm this with someone authoritative, though :o).

Can you ask the flight attendant to put the container in the on board refrigerator? Might work, it you keep the container small enough. If you didn’t get one when you started from the manufacturer, a small freeze pouch should be available from the local pharmacy.

One last thought; if you’re using PEG-Intron, you might have time to order the old vial-type meds- they don’t require any refrigeration like the ready-pen… the contents are sold seperatly, and mixed within an hour of injection.

Call the support line, and see what they say.

Best—

Bil

By the way; you must be *very* old; from the perspective of Bill1954, anyway :o).
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Bill 1954 has some great ideas.
When I was in that boat, this forum member's tips helped and it mentions a few other issues I had not considered:

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/97676 personal_page_id=122253&post_id=post_768746

Safe Trip :)
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Avatar_f_tn
As Bill said, you'd do well to check with your provider. Different interferons may have different storage requirements.

I travelled out of town  last week with my Pegasys pre-filled syringe and was surprised by the advice of my specialty pharmacist, who is associated with Roche.

His warning was to never freeze the peginterferon, even for a moment. He said Roche studies have shown Pegasys can survive up to six days without refrigeration to about 12 C but doesn't survive freezing at all. (He said Roche tested it as safe up to 24C but recommends a limit of 12C.)

And he said the ribavirin isn't sensitive to temperature in the same way and I could just carry it on me.

The problem with freezing is three-fold:  first, it instantly makes the intfn ineffective; second, hairline cracks in the syringe due to freezing can let in contaminants; and third, the syringe can shatter as the patient is injecting it.

He said that's why he packs my delivery always surrounded by REFRIGERATED gel packs ONLY, never frozen gel packs; however, because it's an overnight trip (probably twenty-four hours in total), he puts six refrigerated packs around the medicine in a styrofoam box and adds one frozen pack that is only in contact with the refrigerated gel, never the medicine.

He also stressed something I'd read in the insert but ignored - that it's very important to not shake the intfn.

My deliveries come with a cold sensor and a warning to not use the meds if it dips into the 'cold' bubble. ( In the summer, there's also a heat gauge.)  He takes temperatures very seriously!  I can't at all vouch for his accuracy, though.

I'd been quite anxious about the logistics of being out-of-town for my injection and not screwing it up, but in retrospect, it went well. I have to travel out of town again soon and this time I feel more confident I can manage. Still, it's an added responsibility but if it becomes a habit, it's easier.

And I didn't take the big styrofoam delivery box but just a little insulated over-the shoulder bag. I included two mini-thermometers, though, to reassure myself.



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Thanks for the advice.  I‘m taking the redi-pen in a study.  I brought it up to my study nurse and I don’t think she gets it.  I took shorter trips with a pegasys freezer pack and they didn’t last 5 hours.  I’m also concerned about freezing as portann mentioned and that packaging sounds like a good plan.  I’m going in next Tuesday and I ask the nurse to contact the drug company.  I’m sure that I should get a good response from them as well.  Perhaps they have a study going on over there and I could pick up a redipen and not have to worry about it.

Thanks,

PS Bill, as far as that very old comment, please respect your elders.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have done this-Eurpe to USA.
I took the interferon to the airport in a cold gel pack.
Whilst waiting at the airport I asked cafeteria staff to keep the pack in the drinks fridge which they cheerfully did.
On the airliner the stewardesses gave me bags of ice which they replaced when necessary.
They don't have fridges on the plane-they use ice.
Roche told me that the interferon is very durable and that had tested product which had been at room temperature for a week and it was fine.
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Avatar_m_tn
Bill,

Since you're on Peg Intron, one option is to travel with one of the other forumlations (as opposed to redi-pen) that do not require refrigeration. (I think you mix a powder into a vial but not sure).  May not be worth it for just one trip but if anyone on Peg Intron plans to travel frequently, this would certainly be one way to go.

-- Jim
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Avatar_f_tn
I traveled a few times with Pyg. To and from Europe. Did your drug company give you small cooler?  I would freeze a couple of cold packs, I got from local hospital,  that is used for live organs, froze,  it, on the plane the stewrdess would happily put it in the fridge for me.  Cold pack that meds come in if you use mail now.  

Do Not freeze the meds!  

It is not as daunting as it sounds. Depending on how long you are gone. The worse part was with the time change keeping on schedule!   8 to 9 hours is a big chunk of time!  

Best of luck and enjoy!

Deb
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Oh, you fabulous and interesting international travelers!  I wish I was facing this problem!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with Deb.  The airlines are pretty good about helping out.  I travelled overseas a few times on tx and used the cold packs that came with the redipen shipment.  I froze them and placed them in a cold bag, then put the redipen and my procrit in a padded bag and placed it in the cold bag.  That way the meds were not in direct contact with the frozen cold packs.  They stay cold for about 12 hours that way.  Also, ask the flight crew to store them cold in-flight if you are worried.  Good luck.

jd
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One other thing, Keep pills  in original containers with your name on it!     Don't divide them up or put them in smaller containers, Important for customs.

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Also bring copies of your prescriptions in case customs demands proof.
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