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  1. #1
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    Default Medication on the trail

    I'm chronically ill and take 19 medications daily. I have two gallon size baggies with 1 month supply of meds, totaling to 1lb 12 oz. Eeesh. How do you deal with packing your meds? I can get my meds filled at any Walgreens. Are there Walgreens stores close along the AT? Also, I have to get infusions in St. Louis, MO every 6 weeks. Ugh. Anyone else have to get off the trail very often?

  2. #2
    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Lightbulb I can tell you how to answer one question

    19 meds? Yikes! I though I had it bad with four daily meds!

    > I can get my meds filled at any Walgreens.
    > Are there Walgreens stores close along the AT?

    I did a quick glance at
    https://www.walgreens.com/storelocat...stType=locator
    and found Walgreens in Hanover and in Rutland, which are "standard" trail towns.

    You'll have to check out other towns at that URL, but the search area is pretty wide.

  3. #3
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    There are pharmacies which can package your meds by day, or dose interval. Then restock dose packs weekly.
    http://alliancepharmacygroup.ca/medpack is one example.

    Talk with your own pharmacist to find what options they might have available.
    Talk with your MD to determine if there are combination tablets available.
    Talk with your MD to determine if all 19 meds are still necessary. Might try drug holiday for some therapies during your hike.

  4. #4
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    I see potential issues with when insurance pays for more, like every 30 days, necessitating you to be near pharmacy that day or day after.

    You can get 90 day supply mailorder often, then could bounce up trail.

    Every 6 weeks..yikes. bit of expensive hassle to travel. But not showstopper.

    Hiking will require some periodic delays and zeros to handle your needs. But its certainly possible.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  5. #5
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    There absolutely are pharmacies in every trail town along the trail. Walgreens are generally found in larger towns, cities so not every trail town will have one.
    With that being said I would ask my doctor to write a 3 month supply for as many medications as your insurance allows . Your garden variety maintenance drugs such as hypertension and cholesterol meds insurance carriers really do like the 90 day refill concept.
    I believe you can get to a Walgreens monthly without any problem but would suggest doing some research too. Not knowing what medications you take, are there any that can be bought OTC at any pharmacy ; such as aspirin, allergy , arthritis meds ?
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  6. #6

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    Big questions: Do any of you meds require refrigeration or other special handling? Are any controlled substances?
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  7. #7
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    Like you I take several meds. The biggest concern you need to deal with is keeping them in the original containers, as most states have laws against carrying loose medication (they think you are either a drug dealer or illegal user) and can detain you while sorting things out. You shouldn't have any problems finding a Walgreens along the trail (check walgreens.com), but you may have better luck with something like Walmart. As some mentioned above your doctor can write 90 day prescriptions for your meds unless they are opioid based i.e. pain medication. New regulations limit these to 30 day scripts only.

    Your infusion should be able to be done by any regional hospital with an oncology unit or any other place that does chemo treatments alone the trail. Work with your doctor on this and he should be able to help set things up for you. I have to have blood drawn every three months and I get an order from my doctor and take it to hospital labs or clinics with the information of where to fax it. My doctor knows when I am out on the trail and has my email and phone number if there are any problems. Again work with your doctor.

    Good luck and happy trails to you.
    Blackheart

  8. #8
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    Great question. My son is starting the PCT next month and has type-1 diabetes requiring managing insulin on the trail. Since insulin needs to be kept refrigerated, and managing prescriptions across state lines has been a major hassle in the past, we will be shipping his insulin (and other drugs) to him via FedEx or Express Mail to whatever location he requests via text message every couple weeks. Of course, we will manage ordering and receiving his prescriptions from the pharmacy, so that doesn't need to be managed remotely from the trail.

    If you have someone that can manage shipping you your meds as you need them along the trail, on the AT cell coverage is good enough you can probably give your shipper several days notice of where you will be and want you meds shipped to.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  9. #9
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    I'm on chemo treatment ATM and while I seem to do quite fine, when trying to do some minor hikes (as I did during our recent Middle East trip) all sorts of not so funny things happened, body-wise.
    My skin seems to have become more fragile, so I hurt myself more easily than ever, and small wounds seem to take longer to heal. Blisters appeared on spots I've never had any, and toenails went black and got lost.
    I still had lots of fun out in the desert, but strictly had to limit my range down to a few km out.

    In strong hope you will not have such unexpected encounters I wish you to be save and have fun!

  10. #10
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Another consideration is whether or not a pharmacy will stock the medication that you need. I'm guessing that some of those 19 meds are unusual and would need to be ordered -- not a big deal for your home pharmacy as they know you are coming each month and can order ahead. Might be an issue at a pharmacy in a rural town. (I have this issue with my hometown pharmacy with one of my regular meds, an expensive inhaler, they only keep one or two in stock and sometimes I have to wait a couple of days if someone else gets it first.)

    Be very careful about any medical care on the trail, such as infusions if you try to schedule them locally while hiking. The biggest issue is likely to be insurance coverage -- make sure your insurer will cover any doctor visits, prescription refills, etc., at your normal rate, and avoid "out of network" charges.

    Other options for med refills: (1) have someone at home get your monthly refills and Fedex them to you at a hotel along the trail (or ask your pharmacy if they can do this.) (2) carry six weeks of meds and resupply when you go home for your infusion. This may take getting a 90 day supply at a time, but it's more secure than shipping, and easier than trying to find pharmacies along the trail, since you're going home anyway.

    My longest hike so far was a month, so I didn't need to worry about refilling my meds. Right now most of mine are being filled in 90 day intervals, so I could get what I need for half of a thru hike. Not sure what I would do for the second half -- but I'd start by having a conversation with my pharmacist.

    Good luck.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

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