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Crohn's Disease Forum » Treatment » Humira/Adalimumab » Humira during Study Abroad


07-08-2015, 10:21 PM   #1
katiejr
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Humira during Study Abroad

Hey all-

Has anyone ever taken Humira abroad for an extended period of time (6 months-1 year)? I am looking to apply to some post-graduate fellowships abroad for 2016-2017, and am wondering if it would even be worth my time applying if I couldn't bring Humira abroad anyway. Does anyone know what that process would be like to transport it or have it shipped outside of the US?

I am looking at both European countries like Ireland and Spain, but am very interested in Argentina. But, Latin America has higher chances of people catching illnesses in general- I don't want to rule it out because otherwise it would be my first choice, but am very wary of it because of how Humira lowers your immune response. Thoughts?

Thanks!
07-09-2015, 11:11 AM   #2
boussole
 
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Quebec, Quebec

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Hello,

I've been backpacking a couple months in Asia and Eastern Europe while on Humira. It means MANY Humira pens.

Having it shipped somewhere else in the world is more complicated. So I bought a really good cooler that could keep it cold for 36 hours (if you want I can find the company name). I think with something like that, you'd be okay to get to your destination and once there, it is very easy to store it in good place in those 3 countries.

Also, you can't receive living vaccines while on Humira, I don't think this would be a problem in Spain or Ireland but it might be in Argentina. Just thought it could be good to know. But really, Argentina is in Latin America but it has higher standards, if I can say. If this country interests you the most, I'd go for it, really.

I wish you the best for this project!
07-09-2015, 11:54 AM   #3
katiejr
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Thank you so much, boussole! I've thought about backpacking in Europe as well. Could you talk more about the specifics of how you obtained the Humira? Did you somehow obtain enough before you left the US? And when you are backpacking, how do you use it every two weeks if you are constantly on the go? Sorry, so many questions.
07-09-2015, 12:26 PM   #4
boussole
 
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Quebec, Quebec

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Actually the hardest part was to get all the Humira I'd need for several months. Because it costs a lot, insurances didn't want to approve it all at once, so they told me to pay for everything and that they would refund every month, as they would do usually. But it was too much to give in one shot, of course!! Luckily, my drugstore has been helpful and played in their computer a little bit so I could bring it without paying. But I'm in Montreal, Canada. I know the health system/insurance is quite different here from the US.

As for using it every two weeks, it was quite easy. We were mostly staying in hostels so we just make sure they had a refrigerator so I could put my pens while staying there and a freezer for the ice packs. This allowed us to go on some 2-3 days trip around because I knew my Humira was safe. Also I flight Venise-Istanbul-Montreal, a really long trip, and my pens were still at the good temperature!!

So, I really think the biggest challenge is going to be about getting all your Humira before you leave. It took me a while to set it up so I think you should call your insurances/drugstore soon.

If you have any other questions, I'll try to answer.
07-10-2015, 12:26 AM   #5
northwesterner
 
Join Date: Mar 2013

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Boussole you are one of the few that posts on this forum that has actually gone away successfully (for a long period of time) while on Humira.

Some quick background on myself. I was on Remicade for many years, from when I was 20-28. I could stretch my every 8 week infusions to 11 or 12 weeks no problem. After college, I worked seasonal jobs, and traveled, extensively around the work for 2-3 months at a time, timing the infusions to happen immediately before and after departure. I was fine.

Then Remicade quit working. For a variety of reasons, I ended up on Cimzia (and I take one every two weeks), and my ability to drop everything and travel ended with it.

As I have noted to my doctors - and something to which they have tacitly agreed - Cimzia and Humira make it very difficult to travel extensively, whether overseas or even in your own country. I'm doing other things now, but still escape for two week stints to third world countries as often as I can, usually injecting with Cimzia just before getting on the plane.

I'm sure the medication can be shipped to you from the US ... you just have to have somewhere to receive it. Also, travel times are longer, so you'll probably have to have it sent from your pharmacy to a friend, who can pack the cooler with more ice (they are typically packed for 48 hours ... that may not be enough) before sending it. This will be expensive.

Others on this list have looked into getting Humira or Remicade overseas ... regardless of the nationalities (whether US getting it in Europe, or Australian going to England, etc) they've found it very difficult as your "home" insurance won't cover it out of country.

However, Boussole's post gives hope for those that want to do this. It is possible.

There are many on this forum that let Crohn's define their life. There's a lot of "I can't because of my Crohn's Disease" around here. It is encouraging to see individuals that have figured out or are trying to figure how to do great things despite their Crohn's Disease. I've had Crohn's for 14 years, and in the last nine years, I've spent probably close to 14-15 months out of the US, mostly in third world countries. To the best of my ability, I do not let Crohn's dictate what I do and don't do. I hope you're able to figure out his logistical challenge and go to Europe long-term.

Finally, I wouldn't worry about the immune response stuff. Yeah, there are a few more nasties out in the third-world ... but I wouldn't worry about it. In my experience, its not a big deal. Regarding immunizations ... the big one that is live (and required for some of South America) is Yellow Fever. You cannot get a Yellow Fever vaccine while on an anti-TNF. It is actually a medication class that qualifies for a Yellow Fever medical waiver. You just need to go to a clinic designated to administer the vaccine, show documentation of the prescription, and they should give you the correct paperwork.
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