Well we received an email recently asking about thrifty ways to buy medicine and vitamins. Unfortunatly this is a difficult subject to write on, because there really isn’t a way to get things as cheap as most would like. Every now and then coupon inserts will have a coupon on name brand drugs, so it is a good thing to scan through them as you cut out the coupons for your binder. The other day I did a post on herbal medicine for colds, so that might help when it comes to colds and the flu. But herbals are medicines too and many common drugs are derived from plants and other biological extracts. So it is important to remember and not to think that just because it is herbal or it is organic that it is save. Every so often in the hospital I see patients that take a handful of prescribed medicine and through in their own combination of “herbal” pills thinking they are save. Come find out that the reason for their hospital visit is that they combined herbals with prescriptions and the combination caused harmful effects. Things like that can make actual prescription drugs dramatically more potent, or not even work at all. But people tend to take them thinking they are save because it says Herbal or Organic. So be careful self medicating with online resources for herbal fixes. And always ask your doctor before starting these routines.
But you will find out that many doctors who are trying to stop the spread of over antibiotic usage will recommend many “natural” therapies. In fact new studies show that even a simple saline nasal cleanse is the same if not more effective in combating colds and running noises! (to avoid promoting one medical researcher or company – for more info search in google)
The problem with medicine today is that bugs/germs/cooties/little dirties/bacteria or what ever little name your family has come up with are changing. Why? Well when we go to the doctor with a running nose or cough that is a day or two or even three days old. Which is way too soon to give up from allowing your body to fight it off naturally. Many illness get better with in 3-5 days. (Now if things are very severe or breathing or safety is a concern then yes a trip to the doctor or emergency is warranted). By waiting it out and naturally treating our symptoms we allow our body to get over it and this helps build our immunity to that infection, so that next time it may not be as bad. The other thing when we go in early is we ask for antibiotics and we tend to take them till we feel better. But just because we feel better doesn’t mean our body has truly finished fighting off the infection. It just means that the infection has been reduced lower then the threshold it takes our body to start feeling bad. Usually our body finishes of the process but because we didn’t fully finish taking the complete bottle of medicine, what happens is slowly that bug or bacteria becomes used to that drug. Just like a person that uses drugs on the street corner, slowly and surely that person becomes more immune to that particular drug. In the bacteria world that creates a Super-Bug.
One bug that seems to be in the news is MRSA. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus used to me a normal bacteria that we all have on our skin, even if you shower or wash. We all carry this and is on our bodies all the time. But over time this bug/bacteria mutated just enough to become resistant to Methicillin derived drugs. In english they became immune to antibiotics. And so the pharmaceutical companies come out each year with newer and “better” antibiotics. The problem is that we still only take the medicine till we feel better. And even if we take the full bottle, then each time the bug is subjected to an antibiotic it gets used to it even slightly and the next time even more, making it necessary to come out with newer and newer drugs that ultimately are more and more expensive.
So Thrifty ways to get medicine? Try everything you can to not use the medicine. Stay healthy, eat healthy. In winter I always amp up on vitamin C and other vitamins that help with health and immune system well being. Wash your hands! Wash Your hands! Wash your hands! At least for 30 seconds with soap and water. Cough into your elbow. Stop with the hand thing, it protects people sure, but you touch something, or someone and off goes the bug to its next victim. If you have a fever over 101 stay home, or away from people. That usually is when you are the most contagious.
Call pharmacies and tell them you really need to take their products but cant afford them. Most drug companies have hardship type applications where they help with some or all of the cost. To them its a form of advertising. They try to make you happy, then you will share the name of the company with your friends.
Ask your doctor for free samples to help off set the cost.
Also one thing you can do is ask for double strength. For example your prescription is for the “Blue pill” that is 10 mg. Ask the doctor if they are comfortable with prescribing 20 mg and then it is up to you to cut the pile in half. Most drugs are sold by month not by pill milligram strength. By doing this you turn the cost of one month prescription into two. Now drugs that are capsules or others that are too small or it is a matter of exactness you may not be able to do this.
And remember the most important thing is ask your doctor, and don’t self medicate.
What are some other ideas you may have?