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Buying painkillers vs bringing from Australia

holhum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Leon to Santiago June 2019
Hi! I can't take anti inflamatory drugs so I was thinking codeine might be an alternative for any injuries that paracetemol won't deal with (I already have back and foot issues and I haven't even started!)

I am flying via Dubai and travelling elsewhere in Europe first and I am concerned about trying to bring codeine through Dubai specifically. Can anyone advise what painkillers are available nowadays in Spain over the counter? I realise how addictive codeine is, and it is a restricted drug here in Australia, but I think my doctor will give me a script, but there is no point if it is too hard to travel with.

Thanks! Not long now, leaving 3 May and walking from Leon beginning of June 😄
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Celebrex is available over the counter but it's an NSAID not a narcotic like Codeine. Codeine does nothing for me, just makes me sick to my stomach and it does nothing for inflammatory conditions. So you might want to talk with your doctor about your particular problems before you set out on your walk.
 

sugargypsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019
In progress: CP 2020 and/or CI
I realise how addictive codeine is, and it is a restricted drug here in Australia, but I think my doctor will give me a script, but there is no point if it is too hard to travel with.
If you want to take codeine into the United Arab Emirates it's possible, but it's important to follow the following official procedure of the Emirates which you'll find here: Issuing permission to import medicines for personal use,
 

ossygobbin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2000) (2013), (2019)
Hi! I can't take anti inflamatory drugs so I was thinking codeine might be an alternative for any injuries that paracetemol won't deal with (I already have back and foot issues and I haven't even started!)

I am flying via Dubai and travelling elsewhere in Europe first and I am concerned about trying to bring codeine through Dubai specifically. Can anyone advise what painkillers are available nowadays in Spain over the counter? I realise how addictive codeine is, and it is a restricted drug here in Australia, but I think my doctor will give me a script, but there is no point if it is too hard to travel with.

Thanks! Not long now, leaving 3 May and walking from Leon beginning of June 😄
 

ossygobbin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2000) (2013), (2019)
Hi, interested to read your post. I suffer from joint pain (arthralgic) as a complication of pituitary illness. I am walking from SJPP to Santiago setting off on 1st July....I am allergic to all NSAID (and the coatings they use on tablets particularly anti imflamatory drugs) I can’t take brufen, asprin etc..the only painkilling medication I can take is cocodamol (codeine and paracetomol). When travelling I always take my medications/injectables in hand luggage, in a sealed clear plastic box with a letter from my consultant, and the prescription. I’m usually waved through customs. No experience of Dubai though, never had any problems travelling in Europe. I wish you well in your camino..maybe we will see each other...dont know where you’ll be when I get started you will be just over 4 weeks in.....buen camino!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Hi! I can't take anti inflamatory drugs so I was thinking codeine might be an alternative for any injuries that paracetemol won't deal with (I already have back and foot issues and I haven't even started!)

I am flying via Dubai and travelling elsewhere in Europe first and I am concerned about trying to bring codeine through Dubai specifically. Can anyone advise what painkillers are available nowadays in Spain over the counter? I realise how addictive codeine is, and it is a restricted drug here in Australia, but I think my doctor will give me a script, but there is no point if it is too hard to travel with.

Thanks! Not long now, leaving 3 May and walking from Leon beginning of June 😄
I am the same, no NSAIDs, I took Panadeine with me. It works for me. I didnt need it very often though, which was good. I broke some bones in my left foot as a child which didn't knit together tidily and I often suffer from pain if I walk on hard pavement a lot. I took a couple on the days we walked through cities.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Travelling with prescription drugs is relatively easy, even ones that are more strictly controlled. I carry them in their original container, have the scripts and a letter from my GP with his contact details listing what medications I am carrying.

Whether your GP would prescribe a narcotic 'just in case' is another matter - it sounds suspect to me. I think you would be better off contemplating visiting a doctor or pharmacist in Spain if OTC analgesics were not effectively managing any pain.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I would be very reluctant to carry any opiate with me on a journey which involved a transit through the UAE unless there was an immediate and urgent need for it backed up by rock-solid medical evidence. Local laws are quite draconian on the possession of medications regarded as relatively innocuous in the UK such as low-dose co-codamol and decongestants which are OTC items here. The fact that even residual traces of prohibited drugs found in one's blood stream can be interpreted as "possession" in UAE law and prosecuted accordingly should give some idea of how sensitive an issue this is. I will be making a 20 hour stopover in Dubai in May on my way to Japan and Australia. Although Japan is less restrictive than Dubai there are also issues with importing certain classes of medication there. For travel in most of Europe I would normally carry co-codamol without any worries just in case my osteoarthritis proves troublesome. For Dubai and Japan I feel the risk of running into trouble locally is too great and I will rely on local medical advice and treatment if problems arise.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Dougfitz has the most appropriate answer, IMHO. Get it prescribed, leave it in the original container with the proper labeling.

Dubai is notoriously strict with IMPORTING prescription medications, especially anything narcotic, opiate based, or for chronic illnesses. About a decade ago, I had to turn down a VERY lucrative consulting and teaching contract in the UAE because of the non-narcotic antiviral medication I must take daily. It was simply not worth the hassle.

But, if you are merely transiting the airport, you are not legally entering the UAE / Dubai. In that case, international regulations usually provide that you are held harmless.

Be sure to keep these and ALL other medications, even over the counter stuff, with you at all times in your carry-on bag.

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Hi! I can't take anti inflamatory drugs so I was thinking codeine might be an alternative for any injuries that paracetemol won't deal with (I already have back and foot issues and I haven't even started!)

I am flying via Dubai and travelling elsewhere in Europe first and I am concerned about trying to bring codeine through Dubai specifically. Can anyone advise what painkillers are available nowadays in Spain over the counter? I realise how addictive codeine is, and it is a restricted drug here in Australia, but I think my doctor will give me a script, but there is no point if it is too hard to travel with.

Thanks! Not long now, leaving 3 May and walking from Leon beginning of June 😄
@holhum , my comment is tangential to your question, but could be of interest. I recently heard of the therapeutic use of the resin amber. It has been used to calm teething in babies, and when I came across that, it popped up all over the place. I have connections in Poland, and was able to acquire a necklace which I wear all the time. Does it help? Hard to say. If you can access an old David Attenburgh video on youtube,(here is a link:
) you will enjoy his fascinating presentation of the story of Amber, and you can make up your own mind!
 

AndrewDavOz

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
We transited Dubai in 2016, staying in a nearby hotel overnight but not at the airport. The rigorous shakedown we expected simply did not happen. But we look like a retired couple and perhaps that helped. I had posted some sensitive items from Australia through to our hotel in the UK. That turned out to be unnecessary and as it turned out, expensive as the UK charged us VAT/GST on the value of the goods (should have been marked Personal Belongings). On the way back we stayed in the airport hotel, ie. remaining airside. No problems provided you remember to pack the necessary overnight items in your carryon baggage as you have no access to your checked baggage.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
My husband and I had stopovers in Dubai both inbound and outbound in December and January. As previously mentioned we carried our prescription medications in a clear plastic bag in their original containers with a letter from our GP listing our medication. I have some strong migraine medication and my husband had prednisolone (not sure of spelling) and we didn't have any problems with customs officials. Hope this helps.
 

Terri B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
1998 St Cuthberts Way, 1999 West Highland Way, 2016 & 2019 SJPDP to Santiago, 2020 Porto to Santiago
When in doubt, always have letter from your GP and keep in original containers. I always take some antibiotics just in case and will be doing the same when I walk the Camino again in September. My GP even includes my Vit D and Magnesium in the letter just to make life simple.
 

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