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Are You Adhering to Your Prescription Drug Regimen?

March 28, 2013 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

Adhering to medication means taking the medication correctly, as instructed by a health care professional. This includes filling and refilling the prescription, taking it regularly, and continuing to take it for as long as prescribed. While this may seem simple, the World Health Organization has reported an average medication adherence rate of only 50 percent for people with chronic illnesses in developed countries. So, why is only half of the population taking their medicines as prescribed? Moreover, why is it important to adhere to your medication regimen anyway? Read on to find out why it’s important and how you can improve your adherence.

Why Adherence Matters?

Simply put, it can improve your overall quality of life. Evidence suggests that for many chronic illnesses, higher medication adherence reduces hospital visits. Fewer visits to the hospital mean lower medical costs as well.

Adherence to medication may be ‘easier said than done’ for many people. There are a variety of barriers that may make it difficult for patients to follow their medication therapy. Here are a few of those barriers and suggestions for how to get around them.

Cost

Often times, patients just cannot afford their medications. Perhaps there are alternative drugs available that do not cost as much. Talk with your prescriber or pharmacist. They may be able to help you find a more affordable drug.

You can also visit the Medtipster website, www.medtipster.com, to determine the cost of a prescription. The tool can help you compare the price on related drug products.

Side Effects

Your medicine may trigger unpleasant side effects, causing you to stop taking it. Talk to your doctor about these side effects. They may be able to switch you to a different medicine to reduce the side effects. They may also have suggestions for minimizing the side effects. Your doctor has your best interest in mind and is a knowledgeable resource to help improve your quality of life.

Feeling Better

There are five pills left, but you started to feel better and decided to stop taking your medicine. Before you stop, talk to your prescriber. Stopping early may cause more health problems. For instance, if a patient has a bacterial infection and stops taking his or her medicine early, some bacteria may still be alive. These bacteria could start a whole new strain of resistant germs. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2009). Even though you may feel better, try to continue to take your medicine(s).

Forgetfulness

Make taking your medicine a part of your daily routine. Once you are used to taking your medicines regularly, it will not seem like a burden on your lifestyle. Buying a pill minder dispenser may help; it’s an easy daily reminder to take your medicine. Write down a schedule of when to take your medicines or add it to the calendar on your electronic device.

Health Care Beliefs and Attitudes

Some patients hold certain beliefs or attitudes that stop them from being adherent to their medication regimen. For example, a patient may believe that taking a medication as prescribed will not lead to a predicted outcome or that a particular disease state is not significant or will not lead to severe untoward outcomes. Talk with your prescriber about your beliefs. He or she may have more information about your illness and medicine than you know.  Your prescriber can tell you why it is in your best interest to adhere to taking your medicine(s).

Adhering to your medicine can improve your overall quality of life, so take care to adhere to your prescribed medication regimen. For a better result, you will be glad you attended to your health.

Medicine is the best medicine; help patients keep taking it

December 07, 2010 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: Boston Globe, 12.3.2010

Patients who don’t take their medications are a well-documented problem in medicine. If doctors are to spot patients who might stop complying with prescriptions, it’s vital to have a fuller understanding of why and how it happens.

As many as 40 to 60 percent of those with chronic conditions like high blood pressure, heart failure, or diabetes don’t take their medicines regularly. The reasons vary – some patients never fill their prescriptions; others feel better and stop their drug regimens; in still other cases, side effects or the burden of too many pills discourage patients from refilling their prescriptions. Whatever the motive, failing to take needed drugs leads to worse health and higher spending, as patients land in the hospital for preventable conditions that cost the health care system hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

But a new study this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, shines the spotlight on another contributor: Patients not picking up prescriptions that have already been filled.

The analysis, funded by CVS Caremark, looked at over 10 million prescriptions filled over a 3-month span in 2008 and found that 3.3 percent were never picked up. The number seems small, but translates to 110 million abandoned prescriptions per year in the United States. It costs a pharmacy an estimated $5 to $10 to prepare, then return to the shelves, an unclaimed medication, so the authors estimate the problem could be costing more than $500 million a year. CVS Caremark has a clear interest in bringing that number down – but so do patients and doctors.

The problem could worsen as technology evolves: Prescriptions sent electronically were 65 percent more likely to be left behind, probably because they bypass the step of having the patients hand- deliver a slip to the pharmacist. As electronic prescribing continues to take hold nationwide, insurers should be vigilant that prescription fill rates may reflect compliance less accurately than with traditional prescriptions.

Not surprisingly, prescriptions with $40 to $50 copays were the most likely to be abandoned. According to William Shrank, the study’s main author, this means that during economically hard times “even insured patients are experiencing sticker shock, and walking away from the pharmacy, without filling essential medications.”

Doctors are unlikely to know their patients’ copays for drugs, but taking the time to talk about drug costs would help them identify those who might never pick up their prescriptions. Down the road, those extra minutes of chat time at the office become multiple dollars saved at the hospital bedside.

Try Local Drugstore For Faster Refund On Recalled Kids’ Medicines

May 13, 2010 By: Nadia Category: HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: NPR Health Blog – Scott Hensley, 5.6.2010

If you’ve rooted around your medicine chest and found some of the kids’ Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl or Zyrtec recalled by Johnson & Johnson, what should you do?

The company’s McNeil unit says it will give you a refund, but you have to fill out a form online. Oh, and you also have to be available for a chat, in case a company rep wants to call and verify the info.

The New York Times’ Ron Lieber ripped J&J for not being better prepared and for not telling people sooner that refunds would be an option. The early advice was just to toss the stuff out.

On a listserv for families in our D.C. suburb, one helpful mom said she’d had good luck with the local CVS drugstore, which would even take back the affected medicines without a receipt.

We called CVS HQ in Rhode Island, where spokesman Mike DeAngelis told us the chain would, as is its usual policy, give cash refunds if a customer has a receipt. Without one, you get store credit in the form of a CVS gift card.

What if some of the medicine has been used? Doesn’t matter, he said. Bring in what you’ve got. So far, he said, the returns haven’t been all that heavy. CVS has already cleared its shelves of the affected medicines, and the computerized cash registers won’t let you buy any either.

We emailed rival chain Walgreens, but haven’t heard back yet. The company did post a letter it got from McNeil on what to do with the recalled remedies, though.

Update: OK, we just talked to Robert Elfinger, a spokesman for Walgreens, and you can take your recalled meds back to them for a refund, too.

“Bring the bottle back to the store, whether it’s full, or halfway full,” he just told us. “We’ll take it back and give the customer store credit.” If you’ve got the receipt, Walgreens will give you cash.

Locate a CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens closest to your home on Medtipster.com

Just say YES to (cheaper) drugs!

December 18, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: Medtipster, Prescription Savings

MedtipsterAmericans utilizing prescriptions could each save thousands of dollars if the senate would allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and Europe. Sounds great, so, yeah, when can we benefit from that?

Well, not today. Drugmakers win this battle. The possible influx of cheaper medicines is part of a large health care legislation, and the U.S. Senate voted 51-48 in opposition of this movement to loosen importation rules. But the war on prescription drugs isn’t over, and companies like Medtipster are accomplices to win the war.

What does this mean for us, the Americans, who feel the sting when we go to the pharmacy? It means we absolutely need to choose generic drugs over brand names. Generic drugs are the answer.

The issue is that many people do not know that their prescription may be available for even less than what they pay now, that being either their copay or $32.00, which is the average price of a generic drug. More importantly, where do they go to get that prescription on a generic program? Which pharmacy has that generic drug for just $4, or even less?

Medtipser.com has the answer to those questions.

Generic drug programs are available at most pharmacies, and most of their pharmacy websites have an available database or a download-able PDF of their generic drug lists. Medtipster understands what a hassle that can be for consumers, and created the database all in one location, www.medtipster.com. Pharmacy location, phone number, prescription price, even membership information at requiring pharmacies.

If you have trouble affording your medication, please contact us. We are here to help any way we can!

Resource, Bloomberg.com

Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/medtipster.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
www.medtipster.com

Pharmacists provide education about medicines

July 29, 2009 By: PharmaSueAnn Category: Medtipster, Prescription News

In addition to dispensing medicines that cure illnesses and improve health, pharmacists provide education about medicines, help people manage and adhere to complex regimens, ensure drug safety, avert dangerous drug interactions, prevent overmedication, offer immunizations and screenings, advocate for access to medications and provide extensive health resources and educational services to the public. The practice of pharmacy involves so much more than merely counting pills.

Furthermore, these services are offered in community pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and nursing homes nationwide. In fact, 92 percent of Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association. Pharmacists do not require an appointment. Many pharmacies are open on evenings, weekends and holidays. Some are even open 24 hours a day.

No other health care provider offers this level of accessibility. As such, pharmacists must be recognized for the significant contributions they make to their communities, to the public’s health and to the entire health care system.

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