Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Can I get my Prescription Drugs in Kuwait?

Several readers have asked me throughout the years about either obtaining or bringing their prescription anti-depressants with them to Kuwait.  I didn't know how to answer it, so I got in touch with my favorite psychologist, Dr. Naif Mutawa of Soor Center.

Dr. Naif explained that it all depends on what type of medications you require:  Many are considered controlled substances and only available at the Kuwait Psychiatric Hospital.  Some are available at the approximately half-dozen or so private clinics.  The only time you may find going to the Government psychiatric hospital and opening a file detrimental to you is if you work for (or plan to work for) either the Kuwait Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Defense.  As you know, any time you will use a weapon at work, you should be evaluated and this background check will be part of your evaluation.

I have heard (and I could not verify this) that if you attempt to bring in large quantities of prescription controlled substances to Kuwait (with or without a doctor's note/prescription), you may be stopped and a case may be registered.  That would make sense as it would happen the same way in many countries.  Bringing in a few boxes won't raise any eyebrows.

Opening a file at the Psychiatric Hospital is no big deal.  You fill out a form, pay something nominal, and you can see a doctor and get him/her to prescribe something.  Most people speak English at the Government hospitals here (and getting someone to go with you isn't difficult.  You can often pay an English-speaking taxi driver, for example, to go with you.)

And you will find that medicine prices in Kuwait are MUCH lower than in Western countries.  Most prescription drugs are available here (might be with an alternate brand name).

If any readers out there have had experience with this, please let me know.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

After delivery in 1995 I had a touch of post partum blues and saw an indian doctor for prozac. While teaching a particularly vile group of kids for a month I went to a govt neighborhood clinic and said laughingly I would quit my job or strike a child without a valium.....had to give copy of civil id and only got 4 small tabs....

Rob said...

I'm on Cipralex (escitalopram) and simply buy straight from the pharmacy across the road from my apartment - no need for a repeat prescription. Most SSRIs are readily available from pharmacies; the pharmacist told me once that depression is quite common here in Kuwait, it's just kinda taboo so it's kept hush-hush.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago, ok, 22 years ago i had a friend who had brought along a years wirth of birth control pills from the states. They were running out and wondered what to do . So i told her to go to a pharmacy with them and talk to the pharmacist. They ended up having the same type just a different brand and they were MUCH cheaper than the states. Some pharmacies have websites here and the one in mishref is very good and opened 24 hours.
Gail

Anonymous said...

I got a job offer in Kuwait, but I am seriously doubting my decision to go. Even though I really want to, I am on lithium and zalasta and I am afraid that if I go to Kuwait, I won't be able to find these medications once I am there because I realized these kind of meds are banned in Kuwait. I know I can bring some of my supplies with myself alongside with the prescription and a note from a doctor, but what happens when I ran out of them? Can these be found in Kuwait?

Desert Girl said...

If I were you, I would ask your potential employer to give you the name of a doctor in Kuwait that you could discuss the issue with. Sometimes, equivalent medications are available in Kuwait with a prescription (or not) and you need to ask. Try Dr. Richard or Dr. Iman Badawi at International Clinic. Both have a large number of expat patients. Their main number is 965-1886677

mrprincecharmingx said...

I guess so. Depends on the drug if it's available here. I take xanax and prozac and they're both available here by prescription.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if I can get muscle relaxers without a prescription? I pulled a muscle from my neck down my shoulder and into my arm. Although with a prescription I would pay a lot less because of my insurance, I do not feel like going to the doctor.

Desert Girl said...

Anonymous November 5 -

Yes, you can get muscle relaxers in Kuwait without a prescription. You can get a lot of medicines in Kuwait without a prescription; that in other places in the world (like the US) would require a prescription. I take Mydocalm for my back. Voltaren and Celebrex are also without prescription.

If you need to a specific brand/type of muscle relaxer, it is best to ask a Kuwaiti doctor or pharmacist in Kuwait. International Clinic, New Mowasat Hospital, Al Salam Hospital, London Hospital, Taiba Clinic, are among some of the places you can call to inquire (do an internet search - they all have websites).

Often, medications are branded by different names in your home country, so it may be the same medication here, but under a different name. Research on the internet for other names.

David. said...

I take epanutin tablets. Rite now hold an offer from Kuwait company. Before making a decision to accept that offer. I would like to know whether epanutin tablets are available there in Kuwait. In Kuwait from where can I get epanutin. Prescription is required or not required for getting it.