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What medication can I take to Dubai and which medications are banned?

Whether you’re passing through, going on holiday or moving to Dubai1, it is important to understand the emirate’s strict drug policies so you don’t find yourself inadvertently in trouble with the law.

Not all medications that are legal in other parts of the world are legal in the UAE, and penalties for breaking these rules can be severe. It’s therefore important to check that your prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs are legal in your destination country. The UAE claims to have a “very strict, zero-tolerance anti-drugs policy2 and conducts thorough searches at airports”.

When bringing controlled medication — drugs that are regulated by the government — into Dubai, you are required to apply for approval3 through the Ministry of Health (MoH). You should be able to find out if your prescription medication is controlled or not through your doctor. If you are issued approval to bring your prescription medication into the country, you can bring up to three months’ supply as a visitor and 12 months’ supply as a resident. The drugs should be kept in their original packaging along with your prescription.

Pharmacist placing prescriptions on pharmacy shelf Pharmacist placing prescriptions on pharmacy shelf


So, what medication can I take to Dubai?

Can I take paracetamol to Dubai?

Paracetamol is not featured on the MoH’s list of controlled drugs4, so you should be able to take it into Dubai. However, if you are ever unsure then check with your doctor.

Codeine is a controlled drug in the UAE, so you will need permission to take co-codamol (paracetamol and codeine) into the country.

Can I take ibuprofen to Dubai?

Ibuprofen is not featured on the MoH’s list of controlled drugs and can be taken into Dubai5. It is readily available over the counter throughout Dubai.

Can I take Imodium to Dubai?

Imodium is a brand name of loperamide hydrochloride. This drug is not featured on the MoH’s list of controlled drugs, so you should be able to take it into Dubai. However, if you are ever unsure then check with your doctor.

Is Viagra legal in Dubai?

Viagra is a brand name of sildenafil citrate. This drug is not featured on the MoH’s list of controlled drugs, so you should be able to take it into Dubai. However, if you are ever unsure then check with your doctor.

Medication access in Dubai

Uncontrolled medication that does not require a prescription can be bought in pharmacies or supermarkets in Dubai. You may even find there are drugs that you can buy in the UAE that you would need a prescription for elsewhere. This also works the other way around — you may need a prescription for medication that you have previously been able to buy over the counter.

If the medication you require is controlled in the emirate, you may need to get a new prescription from a locally registered doctor — pharmacists cannot accept foreign prescriptions.

Find out more about UAE’s health care system with our expat’s guide to getting medical treatment in Dubai.

Dubai’s banned medicines list

The Ministry of Health and Prevention in the UAE has released a list of the controlled Narcotics/Psychotropics and Controlled (CD) Drugs in the country. The document, which was released in April 2019, comprises the names of all prohibited or controlled drugs.

  1. (+) – LYSERGIDE (LSD, LSD-25)
  2. 2c-B
  3. 3-methylfentanyl
  4. 3-methylthiofentanyl
  5. 4 – Methylaminorex
  6. 4-MTA
  7. Acetorphine
  8. Acetyl-alpha-methylfentanyl
  9. Acetyldihydrocodeine
  10. Acetylmethadol
  11. Alfentanyl
  12. Allobarbital
  13. Allylprodine
  14. Alphacetylmethado
  15. Alphameprodine
  16. Alphamethadol
  17. Alpha-methylfentanyl
  18. Alpha-methylthiofentanyl
  19. Alphaprodine
  20. Alprazolam
  21. Amfepramone
  22. Amfetamine
  23. Amineptine
  24. Aminorex
  25. Amisulpiride
  26. Amobarbital
  27. Anileridine
  28. Aripiprazole
  29. Barbital
  30. Benzethidine
  31. Benzfetamine
  32. Benzhexol (TRIHEXYPHENIDYL)
  33. Benzylmorphine
  34. Betacetylmethadol
  35. Beta-hydroxy-3-methylfentanyl
  36. Beta-hydroxyfentanyl
  37. Betameprodine
  38. Betamethado
  39. Betaprodine
  40. Bezitramide
  41. Brolamphetamine
  42. Bromazepam
  43. Brotizolam
  44. Buprenorphine
  45. Butalbital
  46. Butobarbital
  47. Camazepam
  48. Cannabis Plant
  49. Cannabis Resin
  50. Cannabis Sativa (Indian Hemp)
  51. Catha Edulis (Khat, Kat)
  52. CATHINE (Norpseudo-Ephedrine)
  53. Cathinone
  54. Chlordiazepoxide
  55. Chlormethiazole
  56. Chlorpromazine
  57. Claviceps Purpurea (Ergot)
  58. Clobazam
  59. Clonazepam
  60. Clonitrazene
  61. Clorazepate
  62. Clotiazepam
  63. Cloxazolam
  64. Clozapine
  65. Coca leaf
  66. Cocaine
  67. Codeine
  68. Codeine >30mg/Unit Dose (in combination)
  69. Codoxime
  70. Concentrate of poppy straw
  71. Corynanthe Yohimbe (Bark)
  72. Corynanthe Yohimbe (Yohimbe Bush)
  73. Cyclobarbital
  74. Datura (Datura Stramonium)
  75. Delorazepam
  76. Desomorphine
  77. DET
  78. Dexamfetamine
  79. Dextromoramide
  80. Dextropropoxyphene
  81. Diampromide
  82. Diazepam
  83. Diethylthiambutene
  84. Difenoxin
  85. Dihydrocodeine
  86. Dihydrocodeine (with combination)
  87. Dihydroetorphine
  88. Dihydromorphine
  89. Dimenoxadol
  90. Dimepheptanol
  91. Dimethylthiambutene
  92. Dioxaphetyl butyrate
  93. Diphenoxylate
  94. Dipipanone
  95. DMA
  96. DMHP
  97. DMT
  98. DOET
  99. Dronabinol
  100. Droperidol
  101. Drotebanol
  102. Ecgonine
  103. Ehtylmorphine
  104. Ephedrine
  105. Ergot mushroom
  106. Erythroxylon Coca (Coca)
  107. Estazolam
  108. Ethchlorvynol
  109. Ethinamate
  110. Ethyl Loflazepate
  111. Ethylmethylthiambutene
  112. Eticyclidine
  113. Etilamfetamine (N-Ethylamphetamine)
  114. Etonitazene
  115. Etorphine
  116. Etoxeridine
  117. Etryptamine
  118. Fencamfamin
  119. Fenetylline
  120. Fenproporex
  121. Fentanyl
  122. Fludiazepam
  123. Flumazenil
  124. Flunitrazepam
  125. Flupenthixol
  126. Fluphenazine Dihydrochloride
  127. Flurazepam
  128. Furethidine
  129. Gabapentin
  130. Ghb
  131. Glutethamide
  132. Halazepam
  133. Haloperidol
  134. Haloxazolam
  135. Heroin
  136. Hydrocodone
  137. Hydromorphinol
  138. Hydromorphone
  139. Hydroxypethidine
  140. Hyoscyamus Niger (Henbane)
  141. Ipomoea sp. (Morning Glory)
  142. Isomethadone
  143. Ketamine, Ketalar
  144. Ketazolam
  145. Ketobemidone
  146. Lefetamine
  147. Levamfetamine
  148. Levomethorphan
  149. Levomoramide
  150. Levophenacylmorphan
  151. Levorphanol
  152. Lisdexamphetamine
  153. Lophophora Williamsii (Peyote)
  154. Loprazolam
  155. Lorazepam
  156. Lormetazepam
  157. Lovomethamphetamine
  158. Mazindol
  159. MDE, N-ethyl MDA
  160. MDMA
  161. Mecloqualone
  162. Medazepam
  163. Medetomidine
  164. Mefenorex
  165. Mephenoxalone
  166. Meprobamate
  167. Mescaline
  168. Mesocarb
  169. Metamfetamine
  170. Metazocine
  171. Methadone
  172. Methadone intermediate
  173. Methafetamine Racemate
  174. Methaqualone
  175. Methcathinone
  176. Methtrimeprazine
  177. Methyldesorphine
  178. Methyldihydromorphine
  179. Methylphenidate
  180. Methylphenobarbital
  181. Methyprylon
  182. Metopon
  183. Midazolam
  184. Misoprostol
  185. MMDA
  186. Modafinil
  187. Moramide intermediate
  188. Morning Glory
  189. Morpheridine
  190. Morphine
  191. Morphine methobromide
  192. Morphine n-oxide
  193. MPPP
  194. Myrophine
  195. Nalbuphine
  196. N-hydroxy MDA
  197. Nicocodeine
  198. Nicodicodeine
  199. Nicomorphine
  200. Nimetazepam
  201. Nitrazepam
  202. Noracymethadol
  203. Norcodeine
  204. Nordazepam
  205. Norlevorphanol
  206. Normethadone
  207. Normorphine
  208. Norpipanone
  209. Olanzapine
  210. Opium
  211. Oxazepam
  212. Oxazolam
  213. Oxycodone
  214. Oxymorphone
  215. Papaver Somniferum (Opium)
  216. Para-fluorofentanyl
  217. Parahexyl
  218. Pemoline
  219. Pentazocine
  220. Pentobarbital
  221. PEPAP
  222. Pethidine
  223. Pethidine intermediate A
  224. Pethidine intermediate B
  225. Pethidine intermediate C
  226. Peyote Cactus
  227. Phenadoxone
  228. Phenampromide
  229. Phenazocine
  230. Phencyclidine
  231. Phendimetrazine
  232. Phenmetrazine
  233. Phenobarbital
  234. Phenomorphan
  235. Phenoperidine
  236. Phentermine
  237. Pholcodeine
  238. Piminodine
  239. Pimozide
  240. Pinazepam
  241. Pipradrol
  242. Piptadenia Pregrina
  243. Piritramide
  244. PMA
  245. Prazepam
  246. Pregabalin
  247. Prochlorperazine
  248. Procyclidine
  249. Proheptazine
  250. Properidine
  251. Propiram
  252. Propylhexedrine
  253. Prostaglandin E2
  254. Pseudoephedrine
  255. Psilocine, Psilotsin
  256. Psilocybe sp. & Amanita mushrooms (Magic Mushroom)
  257. Psilocybin mushrooms
  258. Psilocybine
  259. Pyrovalerone
  260. Quetiapine
  261. Racemethorphan
  262. Racemoramide
  263. Racemorphan
  264. Rolicyclidine (PHP, PCPY)
  265. Secbutabarbital
  266. Secobarbital
  267. STP, DOM
  268. Sufentanyl
  269. Sulpiride
  270. Sultopride
  271. Synthetic Cannabinoids (Cannabimimetics)
  272. Tabernanthe Iboga (Iboga tree)
  273. Temazepam
  274. Tenamfetamine (MDA)
  275. Tenocyclidine (TCP)
  276. Tetrahydrocannabinol
  277. Tetrazepam
  278. Thebacon
  279. Thebaine
  280. Thiofentanyl
  281. Thioridazine
  282. TMA
  283. Tramadol
  284. Triazolam
  285. Trifluoperazine
  286. Trimeperidine
  287. Vinylbital
  288. Zaleplon
  289. Zipeprol
  290. Ziprasidone
  291. Zolpidem
  292. Zopiclone
  293. Zuclopenhtixol

To find out more, read the list here.

If you’re relocating to the UAE, or to any country, you can get an instant quote for international health insurance here.

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