Travel medicines

About travel medicines for people with CKD: vaccinations, anti-malaria medicines, storing your medicines, and sources of further information and advice.

The chance to travel for a holiday or for work is important for people with kidney disease, just like everyone else. But people with kidney disease need to make sure that the travel medicines are right for them. Read on for more information about your travel medicines.

Can I have vaccinations?

Up-to-date information on which vaccines are needed to travel to different areas is available from your GP practice or local pharmacy travel clinic.

Make an appointment well in advance as it can take several weeks to get an appointment, which may be too late to ensure safe travel for your holiday.

If you are on immunosuppressant drugs after a kidney transplant, or to treat an autoimmune disease (for example, vasculitis), it is not safe for you to receive certain holiday vaccines, called ‘live’ vaccines.

Check the list below to see if the vaccinations you have been advised to receive before your holiday are safe for you.

Vaccines which are SAFE to receive 'Live' vaccines which you MUST NOT RECEIVE

Diptheria

BCG

Hepatitis A

Measles, mumps and rubella

Hepatitis B

Oral polio

Immunoglobins

Oral typhoid

Influenza (flu) injection

Influenza (flu) nasal spray (only licensed for under 18s)

Meningococcus

Yellow fever

Pertussis

Rubella

Inactivated polio injection (special order only)

Chicken pox

Pneumococcal

-

Rabies

-

Tetanus

-

Typhoid injection

-

What about Covid-19?

Speak to your doctor about the risk from Covid-19 in the country you are travelling to.

Rules regarding testing and quarantine may be in place. There may also be rules on the number of vaccination doses you have received and how you can show your vaccination status.

For up-to-date information about Covid-19 visit Kidney Care UK's Covid-19 information hub for kidney patients.

medication - travel medication - family holiday

Can I take malaria prevention medicines?

Before you travel, it is always best to check with your GP, practice nurse or specialist travel health centre if you need tablets to prevent malaria (malaria prophylaxis), as any tablets recommended will vary depending on the country you are visiting.

Some malaria medicines can interact (cause problems) with other medicines. If you have kidney disease, your type and doses of malaria tablets may differ from other travellers.

You should always check with your kidney doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are not sure what dose to take.

Malaria prevention medications

The following advice applies to adults only:

  • Chloroquine: 300mg once a week. You will need to take your tablets for one week before travel, while away and for four weeks after returning. The dose may need to be reduced if you are on dialysis.
  • Proguanil: the dose will need to be altered depending on your kidney function. Your kidney team can tell you what your dose should be. You will need to take your tablets for one week before travel, while away and for four weeks after returning.

Chloroquine and Proguanil are available without a prescription from a pharmacy.

  • Atovaquone/Proguanil: can be taken if your kidney function is above 30ml/min so check with your kidney team whether it is safe for you to take this. You will need to take your tablets for one or two days before travel, while away and for seven days after returning. Take with food.
  • Doxycycline: 100mg daily for one or two days before travel, while away and for four weeks after returning.
  • Mefloquine: one tablet once a week. You will need to take your tablets starting three weeks before travel, while away and for four weeks after returning.

Atovaquone/Proguanil, doxycycline and mefloquine can only be obtained on a private prescription (even if you normally don’t pay for your prescriptions), but your GP can usually prescribe them for you.

The price you pay for your private prescription may vary, so it may be worth shopping around for the best price.

The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

Looking after your medicines

You should store your medicines in their original packet in a cool, dry place, out of the sight and reach of children.

Do not get rid of any expired or unwanted tablets by flushing them down the toilet, or throwing them away. Take them to your local pharmacy who will dispose of them for you.

Where can I find more information about travelling with kidney disease?

Travel medicines: download or order Kidney Care UK's information leaflet

You can download our Travel medicines leaflet for free.

You can also order a printed copy of Kidney Care UK’s Travel medicines leaflet to be sent to you in the post.

Publication date: 07/2023

Review date: 07/2026

This resource was produced according to PIF TICK standards. PIF TICK is the UK’s only assessed quality mark for print and online health and care information. Kidney Care UK is PIF TICK accredited.

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