The GoodRx Prescription Savings Blog

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

Taking Symbicort for Asthma? Here’s How to Save

by Tori Marsh on December 14, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol) is a common maintenance inhaler, taken on a daily basis to treat asthma and COPD, but it’s not cheap. Cash prices average around $323 for one inhaler, and out of pocket costs for those who fill Symbicort regularly can be unmanageable.

Symbicort works well. Around 60% of people rate that Symbicort is ‘worth it’, according to our friends at Iodine. If Symbicort works well for you, or your doctor thinks it’s best for you, how can you make it more affordable? Here’s some information about Symbicort and how you can save.

How Popular is Symbicort?

Symbicort is the second most popular beta agonist/corticosteroid, a class of drugs used to treat Asthma and COPD. Other common drugs in this class include Advair, Breo Ellipta, Dulera and Airduo.

When will generic Symbicort be available?

As of December 2017, there is no generic Symbicort available. In January of 2017, manufacturer AstraZeneca received an extension on their patent exclusivity, which will allow for them to continue to be the sole manufacturer until mid to late 2018.

At present, there have been few reports of manufacturers developing a generic alternative, and no applications have been approved by the FDA. But with increasing pressure from popular inhaler Advair, and AirDuo (AirDuo just got its first generic equivalent), AstraZeneca will need to keep their prices for Symbicort competitive. While this doesn’t necessarily mean we will see a generic soon, this competition could speed up the process.

Are there any cheaper alternatives?

Since few generic beta agonist/corticosteroid inhalers exist, cash prices for alternatives could be just as expensive as Symbicort. However, depending on your insurance coverage, some alternative inhalers might be more affordable.

  • Breo Ellipta is another common inhaler used to treat asthma and COPD and is used to provide long-term control of symptoms. The downside? Breo Ellipta contains an ingredient that can cause a yeast build up in your mouth and throat, and should not be taken by those who are allergic to milk.
  • Dulera is a combination inhaler used to improve lung function and can reduce the number of asthma flare-ups by 70%.
  • AirDuo (fluticasone/salmeterol) is one of the only alternative inhalers that has a generic. In fact manufacturer, Teva released brand name AirDuo and a generic fluticasone/salmeterol at the same time – the move was aimed at increasing access to lower-cost inhalers and competing in the asthma inhaler marketplace. Cash prices for generic fluticasone/salmeterol average around $89. That’s definitely more affordable than $323 for Advair. As always, be sure to speak with your doctor to see if AirDuo is right for you.

Symbicort is also often compared to GlaxoSmithKline’s popular inhaler Advair, but how interchangeable are they?

Symbicort vs Advair

Advair and Symbicort are very similar in natureand many patients wonder which is best for them. While both Symbicort and Advair are both used to treat Asthma and COPD, they have several noteworthy differences.

First off, Symbicort and Advair have different active ingredients. These active ingredients are especially important to pay attention to, especially if you are on other medications that could have a negative interaction.

Another difference? The price. Advair tends to be a little more expensive. The average cash price for Advair is $367, while Symbicort is $323.

One final note. Be sure you know that both Symbicort and Advair are not rescue inhalers – they cannot be used to treat acute symptoms like an asthma attack.

Symbicort still works best for me: How can I save?

  • Save with Symbicort’s manufacturer coupon or patient assistance program. Manufacturer AstraZeneca offers a manufacturer coupon program and patient assistance program for patients with and without insurance coverage. The Symbicort $25 Guarantee Program can reduce your payment to as little as $25 per month for one year, while the Patient Assistance Program can help you receive your medication at no cost if you qualify. For more information on eligibility and enrolling, be sure to read through our Symbicort Savings Tips.
  • Use a Symbicort coupon from GoodRx. GoodRx offers discounts for Symbicort online which can save at least 15% off the full retail price
  • Try to appeal your coverage. If you have insurance and your plan doesn’t cover Symbicort, ask your doctor about submitting an appeal, Some plans require prior authorizations—meaning you need permission from your insurance plan and a special request from your doctor before you can fill your prescription. If you have insurance, call your provider and ask how to get this process started.

10 Things To Know About Generic Viagra

by Tori Marsh on December 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Good news! Viagra (sildenafil) has gone generic, cutting costs for the “blue little pill” in half.

Viagra is one of the most popular drugs on the market today, earning manufacturer Pfizer over one billion dollars a year. Its popularity has led to thousands of bad jokes, hundreds of cheesy commercials, and put the phrase “erectile dysfunction” on the radar. But how much do you actually know about the infamous erectile dysfunction pill?

Here are 10 things you should know to get better acquainted with Viagra, and its generic sildenafil.

There are two manufacturers for generic sildenafil… and more on the way.

In 2013, generic manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals reached a settlement that allowed them to manufacture generic sildenafil starting on December 11th, 2017. As of last week, Teva was set up to be the sole manufacturer for generic Viagra until 2020, when the brand name patent expires.   

However, on December 6th, Viagra manufacturer Pfizer announced that they would also be releasing generic sildenafil, at a significantly reduced price. Ultimately this move will enable Pfizer to share in the profits of generic sildenafil. Smart move on their part.

Viagra’s patent officially expires in 2020, and we expect to see more manufacturers come to the table then, driving prices down. Stay tuned.

It comes in multiple dosages

Just like brand name Viagra, generic sildenafil is sold in tablets of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg.

It costs about half as much as brand name Viagra

Yes, you read that right. Pfizer, the current manufacturer of brand-name Viagra has priced generic sildenafil at 50% off the current brand price. The average retail price of one tablet of Viagra is around $73, so prices of generic sildenafil come in around at $30-$40 per tablet.

That is still on the pricey side for one tablet, but there is one more way to save. Generic manufacturer Teva offers a savings program for eligible patients to pay as little as $0 on their prescription. For more information on this program, see their website here.

Sildenafil won’t be different from brand name Viagra.

We consistently see patients voice concern about the efficacy of generic drugs. But keep in mind the rigorous process that drugs must go through before they hit the market. These processes ensure that generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their brand name counterparts, so there’s very few differences between brands and their generic counterparts. You can read more from the FDA about this here.

The biggest difference we can see right now? The color. The ‘little blue pill’ will now be the ‘little white pill’

A generic sildenafil already exists.

Don’t let this confuse you. Sildenafil is the generic for two common drugs on the market right now, Revatio and Viagra, but these drugs are approved by the FDA for two different uses. Revatio is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, while Viagra treats erectile dysfunction in men.

How can you distinguish between the two? Revatio-equivalent sildenafil is only sold as a 20 mg tablet, while Viagra’s generic sildenafil is sold in 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg tablets. For more on this, see our previous blog here.

It is the most counterfeited drug in the world.

The problem of counterfeit Viagra is so widespread that Pfizer has even created their own security force to help cut down on the amount of unregulated drugs on the market. This team, called Pfizer Global Security, works with law enforcement, pharmacies and wholesalers to monitor distribution, and improve surveillance on counterfeit Viagra.

Why is this so important? One study done by the Pfizer Global Security team found that nearly 80% of online sites that claimed to sell Viagra were actually selling a counterfeit. The team has even found dangerous additives like blue printer ink, amphetamines (or speed), rat poison, road paint, and floor wax hidden in counterfeit Viagra—things you definitely don’t want to put in your body.

For more information on spotting fake Viagra, see Pfizer’s video on how to buy safely here.

It does have side effects.

While you might have only heard of the good effects of Viagra, be aware that it does have some negative side effects. According to our friends at Iodine, people typically report side effects like headache, flushing, low blood pressure, abnormal vision, indigestion, and an erection lasting longer than five hours. Be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of these side-effects for a prolonged period of time.

It is available without a prescription in the UK.

The UK just became the first company where patients can buy Viagra over the counter, without a prescription. It is sold under the name Viagra Connect, and is available as a 50 mg tablet for around $25 US dollars for four tablets.

This decision by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is aimed at reducing the amount of black market, unregulated Viagra tablets sold.

It treats more than erectile dysfunction.

In fact, it was first intended to treat chest pain and angina. However, patients prescribed sildenafil for chest pain reported an interesting side effect, an increased amount of erections, and it was soon after approved to treat erectile dysfunction.

Since then, sildenafil’s indications have expanded to include high blood pressure and pulmonary arterial hypertension in addition to erectile dysfunction.


FDA Approves First Epinephrine Auto-Injector for Infants

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on December 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Life-threatening allergic reactions are scary no matter what age you are. In the past, there were no epinephrine auto-injectors available for infants and small children. However, the FDA has just approved a new lower dose of Auvi-Q, specifically designed for use in children weighing 16.5 to 33 pounds.   

What strengths will Auvi-Q be available in?

Auvi-Q will now be available in strengths of 0.3 mg, 0.15 mg, and 0.1 mg. The 0.3 mg dose is indicated for patients who weigh greater than or equal to 66 pounds, and the 0.15 mg dose is indicated for patients who weigh 33 to 66 pounds. The new 0.1 mg dose is indicated for patients who weigh 16.5 to 33 pounds.

Additionally, Kaleo, the manufacturer, developed the 0.1 mg autoinjector with a shorter needle length to ensure that the injector won’t strike bone in a small child.

When will the Auvi-Q 0.1 mg auto-injector be available?

According to the press release from kaléo, the Auvi-Q 0.1 mg auto-injector is projected to be available for patients in the first half of 2018.

How can I save on Auvi-Q?

The manufacturer, Kaleo pharmacy, created the Auvi-Q Affordability programfirst-of-its-kind access program for the product. The program boasts a $0 out of pocket for all commercially insured patients, including those with high-deductible plans. There is also the Kaléo Cares Patient Assistance Program to help patients who are experiencing financial difficulties receive Auvi-Q at no cost.


Generic Viagra Now Available: Here’s How to Get It

by Thomas Goetz on December 7, 2017 at 2:44 pm

As of Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, two generic versions of Viagra (sildenafil) are available in pharmacies: one by generic manufacturer Teva, and the other by the original manufacturer, Pfizer. Prices for generic sildenafil are about half what they are for the brand version.

Current prices for brand name Viagra are around $70 per pill, and prices for generic versions run between $35 and $40 per pill. That’s before any additional discounts – check back at GoodRx to see what additional discounts might be available.

Pfizer announced plans to release its own generic version days before Teva’s version arrives on the shelves (Teva has planned a generic version since 2013). This will allow Pfizer – which sold more than $1 billion of Viagra in the US in 2016 – to keep some of that cashflow coming in. Other generic versions are expected to arrive in pharmacies in the summer of 2018, which should drive prices even lower.

More than 60 million men worldwide have used Viagra since it hit the market in 1998. Those are the official numbers from Pfizer; many men are embarrassed to ask their doctors for a prescription, and the Internet has long been awash in dubious offers for the drug without a prescription.

 

This story has been updated to reflect current news. The original story is below.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of erectile dysfunction med Viagra, just reached a settlement with generic manufacturer Teva that will allow Teva to start selling generic Viagra (sildenafil) in December 2017—that’s more than two years earlier than the current patent expiration in April 2020.

This is great for anyone using Viagra, as the cost of generic sildenafil will be lower, but a there are a few things to keep in mind.

The Teva generic will be the only one available for two-plus years, unless there are other settlements or the patent is contested successfully. This means that there won’t be a lot of competition to drive the generic price down once it hits the market.

There is also a chance that because the indication (the reason it’s prescribed) isn’t considered essential by many insurance plans, your odds of getting the generic covered may not be all that much better than the brand.

Some better news though: The patent expiration for Cialis also falls in that 2017 – 2020 window, in May 2018, so other generic options in the same class of drugs may help lower prices as well.

You may also be aware that generic sildenafil is already available, as a generic to pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Revatio. You can check out Dr. O’s article It’s Here! Finally a Viagra You Can Afford for more info.

Overall, don’t expect major changes for a little while longer yet, but they are coming.

In the meantime, you can see Viagra offers and prices here, and Cialis offers and prices hereViagra and Cialis both offer free trials, and Viagra offers a home delivery program.


Eliquis Generic Alternative Coming in 2018?

by Tori Marsh on November 17, 2017 at 11:31 am

Eliquis is a common anticoagulant medication that helps prevent blood clots, stroke, and pulmonary embolism. Common, but not cheap: cash prices average around $488 for a 30-day supply. Currently, there is no Eliquis generic alternative available, but one could be available as early as 2018. Since Eliquis tends to be a maintenance drug, taken for a longer period of time, it can break the bank.  

If your doctor thinks Eliquis is right for you, how can you make it more affordable? Here’s some information on Eliquis and how you can save.

How popular is Eliquis?

Eliquis (apixaban) is the second most popular anticoagulant, a class of medications that also includes Coumadin (jantoven, warfarin), Xarelto, and Pradaxa. Commonly referred to as blood thinners, drugs in this class help to prevent blood clots that can cause deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, angina, stroke and heart attack.

When will generic Eliquis be available?

There are two things keeping generic Eliquis off the market for now. First, the FDA has granted Eliquis market exclusivity, which expires on December 24, 2017 (Market exclusivity prevents competitors from submitting new drug applications). There is also a patent on Eliquis which expires in February 2023. The patent prevents competitors from manufacturing and distributing alternatives.

This double-barreled protection means that we can’t be sure when generic Eliquis will be available. A generic alternative could be approved by the FDA as early as 2018, but the new generic might not hit pharmacies until 2022.

Another caveat: While generic manufacturers like Mylan are currently developing generic versions of Eliquis, multiple lawsuits from brand manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb are preventing these cheaper alternatives from making it to the market. With no end in sight for these lawsuits, it’s hard to say when we could see a generic alternative.

We will be sure to update with any information regarding a cheaper alternative for Eliquis.

Are there any cheaper alternative medications?

  • Coumadin (warfarin, jantoven). Coumadin is a popular coagulant that has two affordable generic alternatives, warfarin and jantoven, that can cost less than $10, and often as little as $4. $4 a month vs $488 a month? What’s the downside? Well, Coumadin can raise your risk of bleeding and bruising and requires regular blood work to ensure its effectiveness.
  • Other anticoagulants. Pradaxa or Xarelto are both still only available in brand form – so no cheaper generic versions. Still, these alternatives may be cheaper, especially considering your prescription insurance coverage.
  • For more information on how Eliquis compares to other anticoagulants, check out Iodine’s page on Eliquis alternatives. As always, you’ll want to speak with your doctor if you think another medication might work better for you.

Eliquis works best for me—can I still save?

Once you find a medication that works for you, it can be difficult to switch. But don’t worry, there are still other ways to save.

  • Fill a 90-day supply. This can help shave a little more off of your out-of-pocket costs. Be aware that you will need a new prescription from your doctor, and approval from your insurance to fill for a higher quantity. Check in with your doctor, insurance, and/or pharmacist.
  • Use an Eliquis coupon from GoodRx. GoodRx offers discounts for Eliquis online which can usually save at least 15% off the full retail price.
  • Save with a manufacturer coupon or the Eliquis patient assistance program. Eliquis’s two manufacturers, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb offer multiple ways to save. Manufacturer coupons can reduce your co-pay to as little as $10 per fill, while patient assistance programs can help you receive your medication at no cost. For more information on these programs, eligibility, and how to apply, be sure to read through our Eliquis Savings Tips or visit the Pfizer website.
  • Split a higher dosage pill. This can help reduce costs, especially if two strengths are priced similarly. You’ll want to check in with your doctor to see if this is a safe option for you
  • Try to appeal your coverage. If you have insurance and your plan doesn’t cover Eliquis, ask your doctor about submitting an appeal. Some plans require prior authorizations—meaning you need permission from your insurance plan and a special request from your doctor before you can fill your prescription. If you have insurance, call your provider and ask how to get this process started.

Copyright ©2015 GoodRx, Inc.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. GoodRx is not offering advice, recommending or endorsing any specific prescription drug, pharmacy or other information on the site. GoodRx provides no warranty for any of the pricing data or other information. Please seek medical advice before starting, changing or terminating any medical treatment. Third party logos, trademarks, brand names and images contained on GoodRx.com are for demonstration purposes only and are owned by their respective rights holders, who are not affiliated with this Site.