Q. How can I check if my medication is available in Ireland?
Most medications are available in Ireland and can be prescribed by a doctor within the SHC or a local GP. This should enable you to continue your treatment as necessary. However, there are some exceptions. Medications that are available in your own country are sometimes not licensed for use here. It is very important to check this before you make the decision to travel! You should consider bringing your medication with you for the duration of your stay. If you do, you must ensure that it is in the original packaging in your hand luggage.
If it is not possible to bring a sufficient supply of medication with you, we will require an original prescription or a letter from your prescribing doctor explaining why you need this medication. If your current medication is unlicensed in Ireland an alternative option may be offered by a doctor here in Ireland if it is clinically indicated.
If you need any additional clarification about your medications before travelling, please email Ria.Toland@ul.ie and one of our doctors will review your query.
Listed below is some common medications that fall into the hospital consultant only prescribed category in Ireland.
1. Roaccutane for the treatment of Acne
This must be prescribed by a hospital consultant dermatologist and requires referral for supervision.
2. Immune Modulators
This group of drugs is used to treat complex medical conditions including but not limited to Multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are hospital consultant prescribed and referral for hospital treatment will be necessary. If you have a significant medical condition such as one of these mentioned, it is essential that you discuss your condition with your own specialist including the implications of travelling abroad to study to ensure optimum care.
3. Allergy injections
Allergy injections are only given in a hospital setting and require referral to an allergy hospital consultant. They cannot be administered in the SHC.
4. Transgender medication
Medication for Gender Reassignment must be prescribed under hospital consultant endocrinologist supervision in Ireland. Students requesting treatment at the SHC are generally referred to the National Gender Service. This is based at St Columcille's Hospital in Dublin and has a long waiting time for patients to be seen. If available, providing information regarding your previous diagnosis and treatment plan from your own treating physician may facilitate an earlier appointment. Please be aware that some treatments that may be used quite extensively abroad are unlicensed and therefore cannot be prescribed or administered in Ireland. If possible, please bring sufficient medication from your home country to cover your stay in Ireland or to last until you have been seen by the National Gender service.
5. Drugs used for treating ADD/ADHD.
If you have a diagnosis of ADHD / ADD from a specialist abroad, please bring your documentation confirming the diagnosis and treatment plan from your treating physician with you to Ireland. Treatment in Ireland must be under the supervision of a hospital consultant psychiatrist and so a referral is necessary, particularly as some medications used abroad are un-licensed here. It may be some time before you are seen and so there is a potential for disruption of your regular treatment schedule. If you are studying at UL for a short period of time, it can be helpful to bring enough supply of medication from your home country to last until you return home. Appointments for initial assessment and diagnosis of ADHD/ ADD are currently very limited.
6. Xolair (Omalizumab)
Students taking Xolair (Omalizumab) may not be able to continue this treatment while here. It would be advisable that students complete their treatment in their home country before travelling to Ireland to start their studies.
Q. Can I avail of the Drugs Payment Scheme to cover the costs of my medications?
Anyone who is an ordinary resident in the Republic of Ireland can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme. Ordinary resident means that you are living in Ireland and intend to live in Ireland for at least one year. However, eligibility is also based on the type of immigration stamp you hold. Most students from outside the EU/EEA hold a stamp 2 or 2A permission and cannot receive any benefits or use publicly funded services (e.g. public hospitals) unless you have an entitlement via other means. Please check your immigration stamp and the Drugs Payment Scheme website for further details.
Q. I need regular infusions for my medical condition. Can I continue these when I come to study in Ireland?
We are not equipped in the SHC to deliver this type of treatment as it requires hospital supervision. Patients receive infusions for different medical reasons. An appointment will be needed with a specialist in the relevant clinical speciality to facilitate your treatment. Ideally, this should be set up well in advance of travel, particularly if the treatment required is scheduled soon after your arrival in Ireland. These treatments are carried out in both public and private hospitals. Patients who have not already made arrangements will be referred to either our local public or private hospital as requested. This may cause an unavoidable delay. It is important that you confirm BEFORE TRAVELLING that you have adequate health insurance cover for this specific treatment, as not all insurance policies will provide adequate cover and you may be exposed to significant costs. Note: A treating doctor in your home country can contact their counterpart here in Limerick to facilitate your ongoing treatment.