The latest updates on prescription drugs and ways to save from the GoodRx medical team

(Safely) Get Rid of Your Old Prescriptions on April 30

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on April 28, 2016 at 4:41 pm

This Saturday, April 30, will be the 11th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

The take-back day is an event put on by the DEA Office of Diversion Control to offer an easy way for you to safely get rid of unwanted, unused, or expired medications.

Can’t I just throw out my old prescriptions?

Sometimes, but the take-back day offers a safe solution, especially for any controlled substances you no longer need and may want to get rid of.

For advice on how to safely dispose of prescriptions at home, see the guidelines from the FDA.

Isn’t it sometimes okay to use my expired medications?

Using a medication beyond the expiration date isn’t recommended.

The expiration date on prescription medications is set after extensive research to find out exactly how long the medication will stay safe and effective before use.

In many cases, using a medication after it expires can mean it has less potency and effectiveness—but some medications can cause harm if used after expiration.

If you’re ever in doubt about whether a prescription is still okay to use, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

How do I know how long are my prescription medications good for?

This can depend on the type of medication. For example, if you receive a topical medication such as a cream, ointment, eye drop, or ear drop, your prescription should have the expiration date on either the crimp of the tube or on the bottle.

However, if you receive a bottle of pills or liquid it might be a little harder to tell. Each individual pharmacy label is different so make sure to check with your pharmacy if you have any questions.

If you can’t find a date, it’s always best to check with your pharmacist—but most medications are good for one year from the date they were filled, which should always be listed on your prescription label.

Why else would I want to participate in the take-back day?

In the United States, prescription drug abuse and overdoses—including accidental ones—are at an all-time high. Studies have shown that over 50% of misused prescription pain relievers came from friends or relatives who had a prescription (this includes raiding family medicine cabinets).

Turning in unwanted medications, particularly controlled substances, through the take-back day can help make safer homes and communities.

 

What types of medications can I bring?

You can bring any unused, unwanted, and expired medications to the event for proper disposal.

 

 

Want to find an event near you?

Check out the DEA website to search for your closest location.

If you are unable to make it, or there isn’t a convenient location for you, don’t worry—there is usually another take-back day in the fall.


8 Overlooked Men’s Health Issues

by Dr. Sharon Orrange on April 27, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, so of course we need a close eye on cardiac risk factors in primary care. But what other issues do men face that often get overlooked? Move over breast cancer and menopause—here are some things men, and the people who love them, need to know about.

  1. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate: Half of men over 50 will experience symptoms related to BPH at some point. We call these symptoms lower urinary tract symptoms or LUTS. LUTS include urinary frequency during the day and night, urinary retention, or difficulty initiating urinary stream. Luckily there are several options for medications and surgical interventions if symptoms become bothersome.
  2. Varicocele: Listen up. This is the most common cause of male infertility worldwide. Varicoceles are found in 5% of the normal male population and in up to 40% of patients with male infertility. Varicoceles occur primarily on the left side (because of the position of the testicular vein on that side) and can be diagnosed by physical exam or ultrasound. If infertility is an issue, varicocele repair is an option.
  3. Erectile Dysfunction (ED): The inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance, known as ED, is the most common sexual problem in men. As physicians we appreciate the profound effect on intimate relationships, quality of life, and overall self-esteem ED can cause. ED can be either organic (vascular, neurogenic, hormonal, anatomic, drug-induced), psychological, or a combination of both.
  4. Male pattern baldness: Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, accounts for more than 95% of hair loss in men. By age 35, two-thirds of American men will have some degree of appreciable hair loss, and by age 50 approximately 85% of men have significantly thinning hair. About 25% of men who suffer from male pattern baldness begin the painful process before they reach 21. There are two FDA approved medications exist for treatment: Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride).
  5. Bones, not just a girl problem: Osteoporosis in men is important and often overlooked. A 60 year old man has a 25% chance of having an osteoporotic fracture during his lifetime. Men should be screened, and they often are not. Measurement of bone mineral density (BMD) is recommended in men who’ve had: x-rays that show thinning bones, low trauma fractures, loss of more than in height, steroids, low testosterone (low-T), or intestinal disorders (where they don’t absorb vitamin D).

    Some groups, like the Endocrine Society, recommend BMD testing for all men older than 70 years, and in men 50 to 70 years when risk factors are present. An alarming fact is that mortality rate associated with hip fractures, as well as spine and other major fractures, is higher in men than in women. Men are also less likely than women to be screened and/or treated for osteoporosis after a hip fracture.
  6. Testicular cancer: The incidence of testicular cancer has been increasing in most countries over the past four decades. Although it accounts for only 1-2% of all tumors in men overall, testicular cancer is the most common malignancy in young men. Testicular self-examination and physician exam, especially between the ages of 20-35, is the only “screening” that exists.
  7. Chronic prostatitis: Prostatitis accounts for 8 percent of visits to urologists, and up to 1 percent of visits to primary care physicians. Prostatitis is a broad diagnosis that includes acute illness requiring immediate attention (acute bacterial prostatitis), and two chronic conditions (chronic bacterial prostatitis, chronic pelvic pain syndrome).
  8. Seborrheic dermatitis or “beard rash:” Seborrheic dermatitis results in red flaky skin men around your beard, eyebrows, scalp and mustache. It is more common in men than women because sebaceous glands are under androgen control. For treatment, involved areas of the face can be washed frequently with shampoos that are effective against seborrhea. Selsun Blue and Head and Shoulders are common examples. Topical steroids or antifungals can also be prescribed by your primary care doctor if over the counter remedies aren’t successful.

Dr O.


New Lower Prices Now on GoodRx

by Elizabeth Davis on April 26, 2016 at 8:38 am

At GoodRx, we’re always trying to find new ways to get you the greatest savings and lowest prices on your prescriptions.

Now, we’re proud to let you know that we’ve found even lower prices at many major chain pharmacies.

What does this mean for me?

Bottom line, you can now save up to 10% more on many drugs at several major chain pharmacies.

How can I make sure to get the new low discounts?

You’ll want to come to GoodRx, or check our mobile app to make sure you have the best coupon available.

Then, just present the new coupon to your pharmacist at your next fill.

If you don’t get the new coupon price, just ask that your pharmacist double-check to make sure they have the new coupon on file.

As a reminder, we always recommend checking GoodRx every time you fill (or refill). We never want there to be any surprises when you pick up your prescription.

Questions? Let us know!


Generic Crestor Coming Soon

by Elizabeth Davis on April 25, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Good news if you’re one of the millions of Americans that takes Crestor, a popular cholesterol medication.

The generic version of Crestor, rosuvastatin, is expected to hit pharmacies May 2, and you’ll soon be able to save hundreds of dollars a year.

How much does Crestor cost?

Many insurance and Medicare plans either do not cover Crestor or require a high co-pay. If the drug is not covered, you’ll pay around $300 a month. Even with GoodRx discounts, you’re looking at about $250. And even if Crestor is covered by your insurance, you likely pay $30 – $50 or more per month, and that’s after you satisfy your deductible.

With other generic statins out there, why is Crestor such a big deal?

Americans spent more on Crestor last year than almost any other drug. Crestor is ranked #4 with over $6 billion in annual sales. Crestor is also the second most popular brand-name drug in the US, with over 21 million prescriptions filled last year.

Generic statins like Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin) are still more popular, mostly because they cost less, but last year Crestor was the fourth most filled statin in the US.

Why Crestor? Are the other generics not as good?

You should always talk to your doctor about which statin will work best for you, but there are a few benefits to Crestor. According to Dr. Sharon Orrange of The University of Southern California:

How much will generic Crestor cost?

When a generic version of a brand-name drug is first released, prices typically start at about 85% of the brand-name drug price. With Crestor cash prices at $250 – $300, generic rosuvastatin may start at around $200 – $250.

However, GoodRx expects rosuvastatin prices to drop really quickly soon after release. Why? Let’s look at the price history of similar drugs:

  • Generic Zocor (simvastatin) decreased to about 80% of the brand price six months after launch, and 40% after one year.
  • Generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) dropped in price even more quickly, falling to as low as $15 after just over a year.
  • Crestor is the sixth generic statin to hit the market, so you may see an even more significant drop.

GoodRx expects prices to fall sharply after about 6 months. Most generics have an “exclusivity period” lasting 6 months (180 days) after their launch date. During that time, only one generic manufacturer can make rosuvastatin. After 6 months, more manufacturers will produce the drug, which means more competition—and lower prices for you.

Do I have to do anything to switch to the generic?

By law, pharmacies are required to dispense the generic version of a drug unless your doctor has specified otherwise. If you have a current prescription for Crestor, your pharmacy will most likely switch you over to the generic version, with nothing else required from you. If you’re taking a different statin and want to switch, you’ll need a new prescription from your doctor.

Once you’ve switched to the generic, you’ll want to keep your eye on current discount prices as well as your insurance co-pay for about a year. Prices will vary greatly between pharmacies, and insurance plans can sometimes be slow to adjust to new rates. It’s worth checking GoodRx before each refill to see if you can save.

What if I have insurance?

If you have insurance or Medicare, you will likely see immediate savings as you switch to a generic co-pay—although if your plan has “preferred” generics, rosuvastatin may not fall under your lowest co-pay tier.

If you choose to stick with the brand, most plans will no longer cover brand-name Crestor once the generic is available, so expect to pay $200-300 per month.

Is there anything else I can do to lower my costs for now?

AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of brand-name Crestor, is offering a savings program good for 12 fills over the next 14 months. This program reduces insurance co-pays to as low as $3, and let uninsured patients save $65 per month on Crestor. You can save a bit more if you fill a 60- or 90-day supply instead.

You may not want to plan on the program being around forever—many brand-name discounts are discontinued within a year of a generic release—but this could help you save some money until generic prices drop.

Here’s what to take away: The arrival of the generic version of Crestor will likely save Americans over $5 billion a year. Prices will start to drop quickly, and there will be huge opportunities to save, whether you have insurance, Medicare or just pay cash. Now that’s great news for all of us.


New Quillichew ER is the first chewable option for ADHD

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on April 22, 2016 at 4:03 am

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) affects around 11% of children ages 4 to 17 years of age, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)—and that number continues to rise.

New Quillichew ER (methylphenidate) may offer an easier way to take ADHD medication, for children or anyone who prefers not to swallow a pill. It was approved in December 2015, and is now available in pharmacies.

What is Quillichew ER used for?

Quillichew ER chewable tablets are used to treat ADHD.

Is there anything unique about Quillichew ER?

Yes. Quillichew ER is the first FDA approved extended-release chewable ADHD medication for children 6 and older.

How is Quillichew ER used?

Your or your child’s dose will be individualized, and determined by your doctor.

However, the recommended starting dose is 20mg, chewed and swallowed once daily in the morning.

The maximum recommended daily dose of Quillichew ER is 60mg.

How is Quillichew ER available?

Quillichew ER comes as a chewable tablet in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 40 mg strengths. The 20 mg and 30 mg are scored, meaning they may be safely split, while the 40 mg is not.

When will Quillichew ER be available?

Quillichew ER is in pharmacies now.

Is there anything else I should know?

Like other ADHD medications, Quillichew ER is considered a schedule II controlled substance by the DEA. This means that you’ll need a written prescription from your doctor for each fill, and you can’t get a refill without a new prescription, among other restrictions.

Want more information?

See the press release from the manufacturer, Pfizer, here.


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