Categories: Medication

How to Review Your Medicine Regime

Let the people you trust pay attention to your meds

Share What You Are Taking.

The first thing to do is to see your doctor or fax or email a list of all your current meds (from all doctors), including the strength; when and how you take them (e.g. at bedtime, w/grapefruit juice). Be sure to include nonprescription medicines, vitamins and homeopathic medicines, along with any recreational chemicals. If you are not sure why you are taking a particular medicine, ask!

Give Thought To The Benefits.

Sometimes we take medication over a period of time without monitoring how effective it really is (that is one reason doctors request periodic in-person visits before they renew script). Be mindful of why the medication was originally prescribed, and whether it is still having the desired effect (for those effects you can observe). The benefit of some meds can only be determined by periodic blood tests.

Check Expiration Dates.

All medications (both prescription and OTC, including vitamins) have expiration dates. Check the dates, then properly dispose of all expired medications. Do not flush them or discard them with trash. Most police stations have a medication kiosk for safe disposal. (If you intend to keep using an expired medication check with your pharmacist first!)

Do You Know How To Maximize Efficacy?

Did you know that in a recent study of a particular class of medication only 7% were using/taking their medication in the correct manner? Some medications work better in the evening rather than the morning. Some (and not just stimulants) might contribute to difficulty sleeping if taken in the evening. Some are weakened if taken with milk or juice. Some meds and vitamins should be on a full (or empty) stomach. Some should not be mixed with alcohol. Some should be refrigerated, others not.

Read The Cautions – Again.

Precautions, “Black box” warnings, Counter-indications and side effects change during the course of the year. It’s a good time to re-check.

Price-Shop.

Not a bad time to price your medications at other pharmacies, also review legitimate mail order pharmacies. (One of my coaching clients paid $334 at a pharmacy chain and $178 at another pharmacy – same brand, expiration date and strength!)

Seek Out Discounts.

If you don’t have medicine insurance don’t be afraid to ask your pharmacy if they offer any discounts or can suggest any free discount cards. Many pharmaceutical companies offer discount coupons or help with paying for their medications (see “Resources,” below). For a free medication discount card send a stamped self-addressed envelope to The ADD Resource Center, 127 West 83rd Street, Unit 133, New York City, NY 10024-0840. Allow two to three weeks to receive your card.

Some National Pharmacies like CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Walgreens and Walmart offer discounted generic drugs for as little as $10 for a three-month supply. You pay a few dollars out of pocket which could be cheaper than making an insurance claim. Even the store’s retail price might be less expensive than your co-pay. Ask the pharmacist whether paying cash or using your insurance is cheaper. Some pharmacies must bill claims through your insurance company

Go For Larger Quantities.

Many insurance companies will allow larger quantities of meds by switching to a 90-day supply, with a single script and co-pay. Check with your insurance company and if they do allow this (possibly for some meds but not others), request the extended script from your doctor. This may save you money or at least save you time and effort by reducing the frequency with which you have to request new script from your doctor or place an order with the pharmacy.

Resources:

 

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