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  • Air flight transportation of Autologous Serum - any experience or advice?

    We are based in England and are currently in a catch 22 type situation trying to obtain Autologous Blood Serum by the NHS route - we have a prescription from our regional expert eye consultant but the local funding group have said No and there are real problems getting the eye drops from the Blood Service via the self funding route as well

    The next best option seems to be Autologous eye-platelet rich plasma (E-PRP) which is available in Spain and the US. Does anyone have any experience of getting E-PRP in Europe?

    The upside is that E-PRP seems to have more growth factors in it than traditional Serum and hence could be better for lasik related dryness and seems to be relatively cheap compared to the approx 1500 cost per Quarter for supply of traditional serum from the NHS Blood service if it is not funded by the local funding group. The downside is that E-PRP does not seem to be available in the UK.

    Does anyone have experience of transporting frozen liquids like Autologous serum or E-PRP via Airlines ?

    Do we need to inform the airline that we are transporting liquids in light of all the new safety regulations? And do they need to be in the hold or can they be in hand luggage? Is anyone able to recommend a storage case that keeps liquids frozen for several hours?

    We want to ensure that the serum can be transferred at -20C making sure it is kept safe for use and that we do not naively turn up at an airport and get rejected for the flight because we are trying to transport liquids

    Any help or advice would be greatly received
    Nadz

  • #2
    I get mine shipped, packed in dry ice. If you don't want to take a potential risk of the airlines not shipping it, do you have a company like a FedEx or UPS or some type of overnight or 2-day shipping service? I had mine shipped in dry ice from Orange County to Tucson, Arizona. Those are both very warm/hot places in the US. They arrived in Tucson, completely frozen in the dry ice.

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    • #3
      Thanks Cali that's good advice - ive checked online and FedEx do operate in Spain so will investigate further.

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      • #4
        I know that Sazy and Ariel got serum drops from VISSUM Institute in Spain (they are both in the UK). I'm sure that the Institute knows how the drops must be transported. You might want to contact them. They probably have something already written out for their patients who travel to see them.

        You could also search DEZ using the term "vissum" to find posts. Perhaps patients explained how they transported their drops back to the UK.

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        • #5
          Thanks spmcc thats really good advice

          The Vissum Institute in Spain seems to be pioneering the use of E-PRP in Europe and from a airline travel perspective looks the most straightforward for us from England. Tonya Nuelle from Tri-State Hemodynamic Services in the US have also been extremely helpful.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nadz View Post
            Do we need to inform the airline that we are transporting liquids in light of all the new safety regulations? And do they need to be in the hold or can they be in hand luggage? Is anyone able to recommend a storage case that keeps liquids frozen for several hours?

            We want to ensure that the serum can be transferred at -20C making sure it is kept safe for use and that we do not naively turn up at an airport and get rejected for the flight because we are trying to transport liquids
            I've traveled with serum drops in my carry on (they are waaaay too valuable to trust in checked baggage!). The airlines here will exempt you from the liquid rule if it's medication (and I was even flying through the U.S., which we all know is very strict!). Also, they allowed me to use a sizeable icepack to keep my serum cold for a day of travel.

            I used a padded, insulated insulin carrier (bought from Amazon.com) that contained a large icepack - I put the frozen serum on top, packed crumpled paper towels around them to keep them centered over the icepack, and also made sure it was labeled by the pharmacy that it required freezing temps. After a 24 hour travel day, although much of the serum was no longer frozen, it was still refrigerator-cold. When I got to our destination, I just popped them back into the freezer.

            Read through your airline's baggage policies, and you'll find info on restrictions/exceptions to the liquid rules. They may vary from my airline, but I can't imagine that they wouldn't permit you to bring whatever you need to keep medication cold.
            Yet another post-Lasik (2005)...
            Anyone have a time machine so I can go back and undo this mess?

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            • #7
              I have transported mine many times like Saag except I have never had a copy of the prescription. My travel involves 2 days with an overnight and 3 different security screenings plus a manual screen as I board one of the flights. I put them in a soft sided cooler just big enough for a 6 pack. I put a freezer pack on the bottom, one each side (2 sides) and one on the top and put them in my carry on. I don't mention them when I go through security and have never been questioned. When I arrive at my hotel, I unpack everything and put it in the freezer in the room but leave the cooler bag out so that I see it and don't forget them. The are almost always still frozen or nearly but I don't worry I just refreeze them regardless of the condition and have never had a problem. Freezer packs are not liquid, they are some kind of gelatinous material that never becomes liquid even when not frozen so I don't think that they contravene the regulations regarding liquids and gels. I recommend you do what you have to do and don't worry I doubt you will have a problem...F/G

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              • #8
                Originally posted by farmgirl View Post
                I have transported mine many times like Saag except I have never had a copy of the prescription.
                Just to clarify, I don't bring a copy of the prescription, but since I get them via a pharmacy, the box of serum drop vials has a prescription label on it just like any other rx med - there is an auxiliary label on the package indicating that the contents should be stored frozen.
                Yet another post-Lasik (2005)...
                Anyone have a time machine so I can go back and undo this mess?

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                • #9
                  Sorry Saag, I was reading too fast...F/G

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                  • #10
                    Many thanks Saag and Farmgirl - we've made an appointment to go to Vissum in Alicante in June so this is all very valuable info

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                    • #11
                      I've taken my serum drops and my Scleral Lense bag (which includes cleaner, rubbing alcohol, saline, etc) on planes throughout Europe and the U.S., including some particularly picky airports and never had a problem. Just to be safe, I carry a printout copy of the TSA rules on medical liquids and since getting my scleral lenses, I do now have a doctor's note. The most trouble I've had is that they want to see inside my containers and wipe the outside of the containers (cooler, or bag) with some wipe that supposedly detects chemicals or something. Before I go through security, I alert them to the fact that I have medical supplies; sometimes that's enough that they don't care to investigate further, other times, they want to see what's inside. Generally, when they see the size of my serum bottles, they don't care and the stuff that goes with my scleral lenses is all pretty standard, so that doesn't bother them at all.

                      Also, on a particularly long trip, I noticed that the container I keep my serum drops in was no longer cold enough and I asked for ice from the airline staff, which they were very nice about giving to me. I carry two large ziploc bags just in case, and that way if I need ice, I'm prepared. Also, once I asked the staff at an airline lounge to place my drops in the fridge. One of the women wasn't terribly nice about it but the one behind the bar, doing all of the work, was very kind and put my drops in the fridge.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks PotatoCakes - some useful tips there - this is the first time we will actually be getting any form of autologous serum so all the info everyone has kindly supplied means we are better prepared for transporting back the first batch and for future use.

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                        • #13
                          Potato cakes, are you just using serum and sclerals? How are the sclerals working out?? I get mine in a week or so, I just ordered them.

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                          • #14
                            @Faith1989 - I use a combination of things. I have serum drops that I use when I'm home and then use OTC, preservative-free drops like Refresh Plus, on the go for my daily life. I don't use the sclerals daily because they are a lot of work and glasses are so much easier than dealing with the contacts, plus, I can't use the serum drops when I have the sclerals in, and I like to use them as much as possible. I use the sclerals for skiing or nights out when I am likely to wear makeup (rarely) or be in an air conditioned environment. When I'm in a situation where there is a/c or lots of air movement, my sclerals are a Godsend. Before I had them, I'd go to events and spend the entire time wanting to cry because I could barely open my eyes due to dryness and I was going through boxes of drops. Recently, I went to an event where the a/c was on the entire time and while I still had to use drops (I don't produce enough so I get film on my lenses without drops), I was so comfortable, I felt like crying out of happiness. After wearing them, my eyes are pretty sore and I baby them with lots of serum drops and am careful to keep my eyes closed the full 2 minutes after application (I often cheat if I'm not in a bad way) but the ability to go out and do things comfortably again has been truly awesome.

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                            • #15
                              I also use serum drops and Restasis, as well as Alrex in my "bad" eye when needed. Do you use Restasis? I want to stop because it has increased my redness but every time I try I get a rebound effect.. It's painful. Has the sclerals increased your redness or decreased? I am pretty nervous about them.. The fit seemed good at my first appointment but only had them in for like five minutes. I am SO happy for you..to be able to go out at night and actually be comfortable? That is a dream come true. I hope this happens for me. Sorry about all the questions! I am just curious...

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