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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

Travel letter   (September 18, 2007)

Back when I was in private practice, I had developed a form letter that could be easily modified for any patient, so that they would have something to produce to demonstrate to Customs officials that they had a good reason to be carrying syringes if an inspection was done.

Since then, with tightening security restrictions on boarding airplanes, another reason for the letter has emerged: so that people with diabetes can demonstrate why they're carrying all this medical stuff with them on-board, rather than packed into luggage.

Below is an example of such a letter. Areas within [brackets] must be modified, and any areas that don't apply should be deleted. Please note: although insulin and Byetta can be kept at room temperature for a short while, it's probably best that they be stored with cooling packs of one sore or another, especially if you're carrying a large supply, or traveling in hot weather. Two versions of the letter that you can download to show your physician are available: in Microsoft Word, and as a Zipped Micosoft Word file. (The "real" version should, of course, be on the doctor's letterhead stationary.)


Re [Patient's name and other identifiers]

To Whom It May Concern:

[Patient's name] is a patient under my care for the treatment of diabetes. It is medically necessary for this patient to carry diabetes medications as listed below, and supplies to monitor the blood sugar.

These supplies include:

[blank] to treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Insulin for injection: [describe types and whether in pens or vials], and which must be kept cool by [describe].

Byetta for injection: (brand name for exenatide for injection), which is sold in a pen-device, and should be kept cool (36ºF to 46ºF (2ºC to 8ºC)).

When traveling, Byetta pens are kept cool by [blank OR being wrapped in bubble wrap and are in a small pouch with frozen Blue Ice on either side of the Byetta Pen].

Needles for the Byetta syringe. (Please note, there are no specific needles for the pen used to administer Byetta, and any insulin pen needles may be used.)

Symlin for injection: (brand name for pramlintide for injection), which is sold in 5 mL vials, and insulin syringes for administration of this medication. (Please note, there are no specific syringes for administering Symlin, and any insulin syringe may be used.)

A meter to monitor blood glucose, [blank] brand, and strips for this meter. Also, a finger-sticking device to obtain blood for testing, and small sharp-tipped lancets for use in the device.

The following pills and capsules (medications) for treatment of diabetes or other conditions:


If you have any questions regarding this patient, please feel free to contact me at my office, at [phone number].

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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This page was new at D-is-for-Diabetes on March 26, 2012

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