If you’ve ever had prescription eye drops, you know that those tiny bottles can cost a pretty penny, and can be challenging to apply in the eyes. Eye drops can be used for many reasons like allergies, infections, inflammation, dryness or vision disorders.
Here are seven tips to help you get the very last squeeze out of your eye drops.
Don’t waste your drops.
Eye drops can be expensive, so it’s important to make sure you’re wasting as little as possible. If you have trouble applying eye drops, an eye drop guide may help. The AutoDrop Guide, the Magic Touch, and the Simply Touch are three popular guides that can help you easily apply your drops.
Make sure you know if your eye drops require any special instructions.
It’s important that eye drops are sterile when placing them into your eye. Therefore, it’s essential that you abide by any special instructions like:
- Storage requirements. Some drops, like Xalatan (latanoprost), should be stored in the refrigerator if unopened. However, once the bottle has been opened you can store the bottle at room temperature for 6 weeks.
- Expiration limitations. Some eye drops require that you throw it away after 14 days.
- Special directions. Some eye drops need to be mixed or require that you wait a certain amount of time before applying another drop of a different medication. Make sure you read the special instructions before using your eye drops.
Ask your doctor for samples.
The old saying “ask and you shall receive” can apply to prescription eye drops. Some doctors may be able to supply you with a sample bottle of an expensive prescription eye drop, and all you have to do is ask! Many doctor’s offices have a closet full of sample medications from pharmaceutical reps they can give out to you free of charge.
Some eye drops are now available over the counter.
The beauty of OTC medications is the convenience and ability to select a medication for your specific symptoms. Although a visit to your doctor’s office is typically not required, it is always recommended to check with your doctor or pharmacist before beginning to peruse the OTC aisles.
Make sure your eye drops don’t interact with anything else.
Regardless if you take a medication by mouth, apply it on your skin, inhale it into your lungs, or drop it into your eye it will still be absorbed into your blood stream and distributed throughout your body. Eye drops do have a more local effect meaning that they treat the problem you may be having in your eye; however, the medication can still get into your blood stream. This makes it important to disclose any other medications you may be taking to your doctor or pharmacist
Do the math.
Insurance companies won’t allow you to fill your medication if they think it’s too soon, based on the calculation the pharmacy provides them with. This means that it might be helpful to know the number of drops your bottle contains.
The most common conversion is 20 drops per 1 ml; however, some insurance companies may calculate it differently by using 15 drops per 1 ml or even lower at 12 drops per 1 ml. This means that a standard 1 ml bottle will contain 100 drops of medicine.
This calculation can give you an idea of how soon you can refill your medication.
Eye drops can be used in other places.
That’s right, eye drops are multi-purpose – they can be used in places other than just the eyes. Some eye drops are extremely versatile and can be used in places such as in the ears, on the tongue, or onto the nails.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use your eye drops in other places unless instructed by your doctor.
Thanks to the FDA’s Priority Review program, hepatitis C medications are being approved at a faster rate! This program provides a fast-track review of medications that could that treat serious conditions like hepatitis C. New approvals over the past few years include Sovaldi, Harvoni, Viekira Pak, and we have another one to add to the list!
On July 18th, 2017, the FDA approved Vosevi, a new three drug combination medication for Hepatitis C. Vosevi is the first and only hepatitis C treatment specifically for patients who have tried advanced treatment and haven’t been cured.
What is Vosevi prescribed for?
Vosevi is a combination medication indicated for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in adults, and is a second line treatment for all 6 types of hepatitis C genotypes.
It will be available as a combination tablet in the strength of 400 mg/100 mg/100 mg. The recommended dose is one tablet, every day with food, for twelve weeks.
What are the most common side effects associated with Vosevi?
Common side effects include headache, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you experience any of these side effects for a prolonged period of time.
Will Vosevi be a specialty medication?
Not sure. At this time there is no information stating that Vosevi will be considered a specialty medication; however, with all of the other Hepatitis C medications being specialty medications Vosevi will likely follow suit.
How much will Vosevi cost?
Gilead, the manufacturer, has not mentioned how much Vosevi will cost.
Epclusa, another hepatitis C medication manufactured by Gilead, is priced at $74,760 for a 12-week regimen. The cost of other 12-week hepatitis C medication regimens currently on the market such as Sovaldi and Harvoni cost $84,000 and $94,500 respectively. Therefore, it is expected that Vosevi will be priced right in line with the cost of these other treatments.
Gilead does offer a copay assistance program where eligible patients can pay as little as $5 per co-pay for Vosevi. To find out if you qualify, call 1-855-769-7284 to speak with a Vosevi Support Path specialist.
Watch out EpiPen there’s (another) new kid on the block. On June 15, 2017, Adamis Pharmaceuticals received FDA approval for Symjepi, their new epinephrine injection. Symjepi joins Adrenaclick, Auvi-Q, and others as an alternative to the expensive treatment for severe allergic reactions. Adamis also anticipates a low cost for the life-saving medication.
As you may know Mylan Pharmaceuticals has been in the news quite a bit in the past year due to the price hike of their EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. products. The cost of EpiPen went up by close to 600%—an alarming price increase for a medication needed to prevent life-threatening allergic reactions.
The introduction of new epinephrine products, like Symjepi, as well as the reintroduction of Auvi-Q, the epinephrine injector that was recalled back in October 2015, should hopefully continue to drive the cost of these medications back down.
How will Symjepi be available?
How is Symjepi used?
Symjepi differs from EpiPen in that it’s a manual injection (not an auto-injector pen). You’ll inject the medication either intramuscularly (into the muscle) or subcutaneously (under the skin) into the outer thigh area. Symjepi can be injected through clothing if necessary.
A second dose of Symjepi may be necessary if symptoms continue or recur. If you need more than two injections though, be aware that only a healthcare provider should give additional doses of epinephrine.
Who can use Symjepi?
What are the side effects associated with Symjepi?
The most common side effects include anxiety, apprehensiveness, restlessness, tremor, weakness, dizziness, sweating, palpitations, nausea and vomiting, headache, and breathing problems. This is about the same for any epinephrine injection.
Is there anything unique about Symjepi?
Symjepi is expected to be low cost and have a small, user-friendly design. The manufacturer believes Symjepi could be an attractive option for a significant portion of both patients and professionals.
What other epinephrine products are out there?
- EpiPen and EpiPen Jr
- Epinephrine auto-injectors (generic alternatives for both EpiPen and Adrenaclick)
How much will Symjepi cost?
At this time the manufacturer has only said Symjepi will be “lower cost”—the exact price isn’t known yet.
When will Symjepi be available?
Is there a junior (lower dose) version of Symjepi?
No—currently, only the 0.3 mg/0.3 mL version is approved. However, according to the Adamis Pharmaceuticals press release, they are already preparing to submit the proper paperwork to the FDA to get approval for the junior (0.15 mg) version of Symjepi.
Yet another brand-name drug manufacturer is dramatically raising their prices.
In recent years, we’ve seen numerous cases of manufacturers increasing brand drug prices at an astronomical rate without any reasonable explanation. The makers of life-saving drugs like EpiPen (epinephrine), Nitropress (sodium nitroprusside), and many popular insulins have dramatically increased prices, causing some patients to go without treatment or turn to the black market. You’d think that all the recent bad press might prevent these kinds of increases, but apparently not.
The price of Gleostine (lomustine), a popular anti-cancer drug used to treat brain tumors and Hodgkin’s disease in both humans and pets, has increased by more than 500% in just four years. Here’s the story:
Back in 2013, GlaxoSmithKline discontinued production of CeeNu, the brand name for the generic drug lomustine. With Glaxo out, NextSource Biotechnology, the only manufacturer of the generic version, was left as the only maker of the drug. At the time, NextSource charged about $100 for one dose.
You’ll never guess what happened next. NextSource’s Gleostine, the exact same product they had sold previously, has a retail price of over $600 just four years later.
Although the increase occurred in 2014, until recently lomustine had been available in pharmacies as NextSource slowly phased the generic off the market. Today, Americans are just starting to experience sticker shock at the pharmacy for this life-saving medication.
What does this mean for me?
Unfortunately, all this drama means a higher cost for patients. When generic lomustine was available, patients were paying an average cash price of around $100 for one 100 mg dose. Now that only brand name Gleostine is available, the average retail price for one 100 mg dose is $648.88. That’s a markup of $548, for the exact same drug.
In fairness, NextSource does a patient assistance program which can offset this cost for qualifying patients.
How often does this happen?
The good news is that these dramatic price increases don’t happen often. However, this case resembles the strategy that some pharmaceutical companies are adopting—acquiring older generics and turning them into expensive specialty drugs.
You might remember this happening with Daraprim (pyrimethamine), which was bought by Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals—who promptly raised its price from $13.50 to $750 per tablet. Before it was bought, Daraprim was a 62-year old anti-parasitic drug that had long treated conditions like malaria and other infections.
How can I save on Gleostine?
Now that only Gleostine is available, finding opportunities to save is important! Unfortunately, there is no co-pay card for insured patients. As mentioned, NextSource offers a patient assistance program, NextSource Cares. This program provides Gleostine free of charge to uninsured eligible patients. Call 1-855-457-8880 for more information and instructions on enrollment.
If you have insurance, check with your provider. Some (but definitely not all) insurance plans will cover a portion of your cost.
GoodRx will continue to monitor the price of Gleostine (and every other prescription drug) to alert you to price increases and ways to save. We’re on the case!
Last week, GoodRx rolled out exclusive new savings on more than 40 brand-name prescriptions, and we also promised to pursue discounts for more drugs.
Today, we’re happy to announce new Inside Rx discounts for 6 more brands:
- Colcrys (treats gout): 45% off retail price
- Uloric (treats gout): 16% off retail price
- Amitiza (treats constipation): 40% off retail price
- Dexilant (treats GERD): 40% off retail price
- Trintellix (treats depression): 24% off retail price
- AirDuo Respiclick (treats COPD): just released so no comparison available yet
Like all GoodRx coupons, these new discounts are easy to use—just search for your drug and print out the discount. There are no fees, forms, paperwork, or sign-ups required. These discounts work at most major pharmacy chains.
A reminder—if you have insurance, you may also want to consider manufacturer co-pay programs. Just click on the Savings Tips link after you search for a drug to see which option will save you the most. On the Savings Tips page, we also list patient assistance programs and other valuable savings tips.
Keep in mind, there are a few restrictions attached to these discounts (learn more here).
We know that many other brand-name drugs are still too expensive, and we are continuing to expand the Inside Rx program. We’ll be adding more drugs and discounts soon. If you take a prescription that is too expensive, email us at email@example.com, and we’ll make finding a lower price for your prescription a priority.