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Prescription Prices! YOW!

April 16th, 2007 at 05:17 am

Saw my arthritis doctor on Friday and was prescribed a new medication as I just haven't had any pain relief or symptom control lately which means I've been barely functioning. Barely functioning also means you don't care about sticking to a budget, you don't care about budgets or anything else.

Anyhow, we got home and started checking on the cost of this medication. The formulary cost for a 3 month supply was $1400! The generic was $146! Thank God for Medicare D, I think my cost will be $18! Hopefully it will work the way it is supposed to and I can rejoin the world of the living. It is hard to comprehend friends my age doing fun things like scuba diving while for me taking a shower wears me out so much I have to rest for an hour afterwards before I can go on to the next 'activity'.

Over the last 5 years as I have tried to cope with this, I am so glad for the internet and the chance to 'meet' other people interested in the same thing I am since to actually get out and meet people is so difficult.

8 Responses to “Prescription Prices! YOW!”

  1. Elly Says:

    Rx prices are so outrageous!! I'm so thankful that my husband and I don't have any recurring ones. Sorry you're having to go through this.

  2. Jane Says:

    I was diagnosed last year (at age 47) with rheumatoid arthritis. Is this the kind of arthritis you have? For the last six months I've been taking Humira and methotrexate. The methotrexate costs something like $10/month, but the Humira is $1370./month. The good news is that prescriptions are covered at 90% once our deductible is met, the bad news is that we have a $3400 deductible (which we are grateful for, last year it was $5000). The 10% cost of $137/month I can budget in, but the first few months of this year were very hard on our budget, as you can imagine. After a lifetime of excellent health we are suddenly finding ourselves with a major demand on our money. This has really honed up my budgeting skills, I can't afford to be a spendthrift anymore! Right now since 2007 deductible is paid I am working on setting aside the 2008 deductible ahead of time so we can breathe easier and not have to tap into our general emergency fund as we had to a little this January and February. One thing I do find is that during flares we tend to eat more expensively, as DH will go out for fast food or convenience food when I am laid up. I need to do a better job of keeping some healthy premade dinners in the freezer for him at those times.

    Thank you for your blog, it helps me to know that there's another budget-minded person out there with a similar medical situation to contend with.

  3. Gailete Says:

    Yes, I have Rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed at age 46 and have been living with it for 5 years now although I was symptomatic with occassional mild flares for years before that. I picked up a virus five years ago and that was the end of my life as I knew it!

    I think that is one of the budget busters is eating during flares and this latest one seemed to last since January with only an occassional good day once every week or so. I'm trying to get myself to cook ahead etc on good days, but you can only cram so much into a good day without making yourself sick!! It is nice to know someone understands and I think most disabled people are in the same boat as needing desperately to watch the budget yet don't have the energy to do so many of those frugal things that can help.

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Fern Says:

    Could i ask what your symptoms were with the RA and how was it diagnosed?

    I'm just now reading a book about the way the FDA approves drugs. It's pretty interesting. I guess the average patent, during which time the drug company has exclusive rights to market and sell the drug, is 20 years, after which other companies can make and sell generics. So the newer drugs will always be the most expensive. I know it seems unfair, but the FDA needs to offer that exclusivity to drug companies becus that's when they make the most money, and without that potential profit, there would be no incentive for pharmaceuticals to come up with new drugs.

  5. Gailete Says:

    I understand why the meds are so expensive, but it is still a huge YOW! I was an RN in my former life.

    The symptoms of RA are stiffness, swelling, pain in the joints, fatigue, and in general feeling lousy. Pain can be mild to severe. I came down with a viral infection that caused my immune system to malfunction and start attacking my body. I also was hit with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at that same time on top of the Osteo-arthritis I already had. I suppose I am in the moderate to severe category of RA. I have flare-ups so bad that picking up a pill bottle hurts my hand all the way up through my shoulder! I have trouble removing the pop off caps off the pill bottles. Some days I can barely walk (2 artificial knees). On so called good days I can walk about 1/4 mile, go up and down steps with my cane and do simple physical activities.

    Diagnosis comes from symptoms and blood work (although 1/4 of those with RA never test 'positive' in a particular bloodwork), and response to medications. In others words if the med works to control symptoms then you have it because it doesn't work for anything else. That is completely simplified. Actually it can be hard to diagnosis if you have a bozo doctor who won't listen to you! Switch doctors then.

    The main thrust of treatment seems to be preventing joint damage, decreasing pain and maintaining function. When you are able to function, you feel better, get exercise, rest better, etc. While during flare-ups you tend to want to curl under the covers sucking your thumb but even that hurts. I spent all last night not sleeping because of such bad pain in my hip, it felt better to finally get out of bed and try and do something else.

    anyhow that is it in a nutshell. I picked up my new med this afternoon and decided to wait till tomorrow morning to start in when my husband is home in case of any weird reaction and because I will be taking it in the mornings--I want to keep the timing even. Supposedly I should see a difference in about a month.

  6. Jane Says:

    Fern,

    Gailete explained about the symptoms and diagnosis more clearly than I could. In my own case I was having weird on and off pain in various joints, saw my family doc who saw reason to send me for brain MRI and to a neurologist (who told me that my family doctor suspected possibly MS and wanted that ruled out). The neurologist ran tests and ruled things out, ran more tests, etc. After about six months of this a test for rheumatoid factor was done, it was 240. I was referred to a rheumatologist (waiting time to get in: 4 months. There aren't enough of these docs to go around). He ran more tests (ccp something? can't remember what it was, but it confirmed the RF results), did x-rays and an MRI of the hand and wrist that troubled me most. Some erosions were found and I started methotrexate, adding Humira about a month later.

  7. Fern Says:

    Thanks for your explanations.

    The reason i asked is becus i've had, for several years, a soreness in one of my big toes (not both) after walking for more than about 20 minutes or so, and also the same thing with my hips. The soreness in my hips began after more than an hour of walking, and during the past year or so it seems to come on more quickly. I have been a big walker all my life and wondered if it could be osteo, that my joints were already beginning to wear out.

    I had gone to a doctor about it last year and he was quite sure it was "benign hyper joint mobility," a fancy term for saying i am more flexible in my joints than most people and thus more prone to injury due to 'over-extending.' He didn't think x-rays were necessary, suggested arch supports for my shoes and said to try not to lock my knees while standing. I left it at that tho i'm still somewhat questioning his diagnosis.

    I have had MS for 22 years, and sore joints are not one of the symptoms of MS (though things like spasticity or tingling/numbness are).

    Gailete, your case sounds really extreme, and you are so young. I really hope your new med helps.

  8. Gailete Says:

    I was always a walker too and didn't even drive till I was 23. I also always had jobs that involved being on my feet the majority of the day. My knee started have occassional pain that came out of the blue and felt like it was giving out. When my 'bozo' Dr finally okayed me to see an orthopedic surgeon because I bugged him, the orthopedic doctor took xrays, shook his head, said you're too young for this, both your knees need replaced, but let's see how long we can hold off. We held off one knee for 2 years and the other for another 2, but by the time I had them replaced I couldn't walk without extreme pain. In between the two knee surgeries is when the RA became worse and so trying to control the surgical inflammation was horrible and I still have lasting effects due to that. Lots of complications.

    All that to say, if you think you have a problem (and if you have MS you have a big enough one with that) demand to see someone else (or demand the dr let you have the xrays) who will check you out. The cost of a couple xrays is nothing compared to finding out that you had something wrong with your hip/toes that was treatable and you left it too long and now it can't be treated or helped. and if it is because you are 'hyper-flexible' then you have the peace of mind that you don't have a major problem brewing.

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