Keeping A Self-Proclaimed “Medical Weirdo” And Her Doctor Happy

two prescription bottles with pills next to them
Katie Mui
Katie Mui is on the Research Team at GoodRx.
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Almost exactly 3 years ago, at the age of 54, Karla had a stroke that left her with something called vestibular dysfunction. The vestibular system is located inside the inner ear where the canals hold fluid that detect movement. This complex system is responsible for one’s sense of balance and spatial awareness, and without it, in Karla’s own words, “It causes me to walk like I’m drunk and face plant if I’m not constantly supported.

There is currently no cure for vestibular disorders, only medications to treat the symptoms.  In addition to the instability, it’s also affected Karla’s vision. She can no longer do most of the things she used to, and her activities are limited to what she can manage with a walker or her service animal, a Dalmatian named Buster. Along with Buster, Karla gets help from her daughter and son-in-law who live down the street from her in Indiana, her friends, and her coworkers.

None of this has stopped Karla from living her life, though. She still works full time, fosters dogs, and helps out with as many animal adoption events as she can. Plus, she graduated and became a certified medical coder just last year.

Here’s where GoodRx comes in. After someone has a stroke, the chances of a second stroke are much higher, so it’s all about taking measures to prevent that from then on out. At the hospital, Karla was put on a combination of clopidogrel (Plavix), a popular and relatively inexpensive blood thinner, and aspirin. But she had a bad reaction to the treatment and so she stopped. Unfortunately for her, this would become a reoccurring issue. When her new neurologist insisted that she at least take a “baby” aspirin, or a low-dose aspirin, the same thing happened – she would immediately start feeling unbearable joint pain in every single joint. After another back and forth with her neurologist, she was given a prescription for dipyridamole (Persantine), a medication that keeps blood flowing by preventing blood clots and dilating blood vessels.

Given that it wasn’t aspirin this time, Karla was happy to give the dipyridamole a try, even if it was more expensive at $45 with insurance. However, on her next fill the following month, the price had suddenly jumped to $75.

“I refused the prescription and was back to square one. Needless to say, on my next visit to my neurologist, I was given a good talking to.” 

It wasn’t that Karla was stubborn – she just couldn’t afford the medication. But between all the starting and stopping of different treatments, she had suffered one, possibly two, transient ischemic attacks (also known as mini strokes). A TIA is a serious warning sign that a stroke may happen in the future, so it was very important that Karla stay on her medication. Her neurologist checked with the front office staff and they gave her two discount cards, one of them being GoodRx.

“I compared both of them and GoodRx was shockingly lower! Brought the cost down to less than $25! Now everyone is happy because I am now compliant AND I can afford it.”

Karla always checks GoodRx before picking up a prescription since there are often savings, compared to her insurance. In addition to the dipyridamole, she takes baclofen (Gablofen) for muscle spasticity (also from the stroke) and both levothyroxine (Synthroid) and Armour Thyroid for a double whammy of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease.

Karla jokes, “Clearly, I am a medical weirdo,” but it’s medical weirdos like us who found a need for a service like GoodRx, and created it!

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