Volume 11 | No. 6 | Nov / Dec 2023 query_builder 1 minute

Prescribing for a travelling patient

Drug Programs update


With winter approaching, registrants may encounter more requests for large dispenses of medication for patients who are planning to travel within Canada or internationally. 

Whether a patient is travelling to another province for a week, or travelling to another country for a few months, prescribing best practices remain the same. Registrants are expected to be familiar with the Safe Prescribing of Opioids and Sedatives practice standard.

Prescribing a large amount of any psychoactive medication is not medically appropriate and poses a risk to both the patient and public. In cases where patients are spending a significant amount of time in another country, snowbirds for examples, patients should be encouraged to arrange a medical follow-up at intervals when they return to Canada (e.g. at Christmas or other family holidays). Patients who do not return to Canada should find a treating physician in their destination community. Registrants are reminded that patients who are prescribed narcotic and sedative medications should be reassessed regularly. Relying solely on virtual care to assess a patient who is travelling is not appropriate.

For patients travelling within Canada for a shorter duration of time, registrants may consider dispensing medication in blister packs or faxing their prescription to their destination pharmacy and speaking with a pharmacist there.