Allergy Medication and Airport Security

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations allow you to bring medications, including liquids and injectable epinephrine (like EpiPen AuviQ or Symjepi), through airport security.

As you prepare for your trip, you should be aware of some DOT regulations before you fly.

Airport security officers standing at attention
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Have Your Labels on the Medication

If you are traveling with prescription medication, always be sure that your medication includes a label from the manufacturer or the pharmacy where you had your prescription filled. This is especially true for syringes, which are only allowed on board with a documented medical need that can be established by such a label.

If your pharmacy labels the box in which you received your epinephrine or asthma inhaler (rather than the medication itself), be sure to take the box with you as proof of the medication's identity.

Alternately, a letter from your healthcare provider including your name, birth date, and a short statement of medical need will suffice as documentation of medical need. You should also consider getting a letter if the name you use on your pharmacy label doesn't match the name you use on your boarding pass.

While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not require a letter from your healthcare provider, it is recommended.

Rules for Liquid Medication

Liquid medication, including over-the-counter medication, is allowed through airline security.

TSA requires that all liquids in carry-on baggage are transported in 3-ounce containers and that all liquid containers fit in a 1-quart bag, also known as the 3-1-1- liquids rule. If your medication is in a larger container, or if it does not fit in your quart-sized bag, you should still be able to take it through security, but you will need to declare the medications before sending your bags through screening.

X-Ray Machines

If you do not wish to have your medication X-rayed, you can request a visual inspection as soon as you enter the screening area. However, do be aware that if TSA screeners cannot authenticate your medicine with a visual screening, you will then be asked to have your medication X-rayed and will not be allowed to the gate with your medication until it has been through the X-ray machine.

Carry-On Limit Exception

Finally, know that medical supplies are an exception to restrictions on the number of carry-on bags you can bring onto a flight. This means that, for example, if you normally carry your epinephrine in a small bag or a pouch, it should still be allowed on your flight even if you are already bringing one full-sized carry-on and a personal item onto the plane.

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6 Sources
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  1. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration. EpiPens.

  2. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration. Disabilities and Medical Conditions.

  3. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Control. Traveling with Medication.

  4. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration. Travel Tips: 3-1-1 liquids rule.

  5. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration. Can you pack your meds in pill case and more questions answered.

  6. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration. What Can I Bring?