Four Ways To Save On Prescription Drugs From Harvard Women’s Health Watch

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Thank you to PRWeb for supplying this article from last months Harvard Women’s Health Watch, please share your thoughts in the comments section…..

pillsNavigating the annual health plan changes, figuring out insurance copays, and finding the pharmacy with the best buys can be daunting. Dealing with Medicare’s medication coverage gap, the so-called donut hole, adds to the challenge. Four basic strategies can help save money on medications, according to the November 2014 Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

Go for Generics – “Generics are just as good as brand-name drugs,” says Dr. Jerry Avorn, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and they are less expensive than brand-name drugs. Can’t find a generic version of a particular drug? A prescription for a generic in the same class of drugs may do nicely. For example, there isn’t a generic version of Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin. But there are five other generic statins that might work just fine.

Periodically re-evaluate drugs. Every year or so, dump all pill bottles in a paper bag—including over-the-counter medications and supplements. Ask a trusted doctor or pharmacist to review them. Some of the drugs may duplicate the actions of others, have harmful interactions with one another, or aren’t needed any more.

Forget about Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements – These are almost always a waste of money, and can sometimes jeopardize health.

Compare Drug Prices – Different pharmacies pay different prices to manufacturers and wholesalers. They also use different systems to mark up drugs. That can lead to big differences from one pharmacy to another. Several websites make it easy to comparison shop for medications. But trying to get the best deal on each and every drug could mean losing the advantage of having a trusted and knowledgeable pharmacist. A compromise: fill prescriptions at the pharmacy with the best price for the costliest drug.

Read the full-length article: “Four easy ways to save on prescription drugs”

Also in the November 2014 Harvard Women’s Health Watch:

* How to tell if palpitations signal a heart problem

* Tips for exercising in cold weather

* What to do about stiff, painful hands

* Dealing with the holiday blues

Harvard Women’s Health Watch is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Seniors Skipping Medication Due To Cost Is A Prescription For At-Risk Health

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By David Brimm

seniorcoupleexercisesmallAlmost 12 million seniors have something in common: they are delaying refilling prescriptions or skipping doses because they cost too much. A Walgreens survey found that 37 percent of Medicare Part D beneficiaries have daily concerns about their prescription drug costs, and 1-in-5 say they are cutting back on prescription use. In healthcare language this means that the seniors are non-compliant with their drug regimens.

The problem becomes more significant when the senior goes to the healthcare provider. Seniors are routinely asked about their medication use and knowing that they might be chastised for not taking their medication properly, they are often less than forthcoming about their medication usage.

By not complying with their home medication regimen and not responding affirmatively about their use, a healthcare provider will order more medications. Of greater concern is that partial medication dosing of multiple medications leads to more complications and drug interactions. By not following a physician’s orders when it comes to prescribed medications, they may be endangering their health. Medication non-compliance is one of the primary reasons that seniors are hospitalized. This non-compliance can be defined by taking either too much or too little of their medications.

pills“While Medicare D was implemented to assist with the cost of medications, many seniors do not understand the concept of formularies. A formulary is the listing of medications that a pharmacy provider keeps in stock for sale. Medicare D plan coverage changes annually and varies by providers. Many expensive and non generic drugs are not included in basic formularies causing seniors to have hundreds of dollars in drug costs monthly,” says Mardy Chizek, RN, FNP, BSN, MBA, AAS and President of Charism Eldercare Services in Westmont, Illinois, who adds that this situation is supported by the survey that revealed that only 15 percent of respondents were able to identify the major components of the Medicare D prescription plans.

Most troubling to Chizek is that the survey found that only half of respondents understood that co-pays for Part D prescriptions can vary by pharmacy; or that discounts can be achieved through preferred pharmacy networks. In addition, almost 30 percent don’t know that they can switch pharmacies at any time, believing incorrectly that it can only be done during Medicare’s Annual Election Period.

Even beyond Medicare D coverage, many pharmaceutical companies will assist seniors with discounts on their medications. Every avenue for drug cost savings should be explored. Speak to the healthcare provider about less expensive alternatives and or samples of medication.

Chizek encourages family members and caregivers to monitor prescription use of loved ones and ask questions to the healthcare team or eldercare experts to look for ways to ensure medication compliance while also advising on ways to lower costs.

– For more information on controlling medication usage and costs, visit Charism Eldercare Services at www.charism.net.

Part 2 – Fatigue Prescription – Renew-O-Meter

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Continued from Part 1 of this article…..

By Dr. Linda Hawes Clever

friendsTHE RENEW-O-METER
Your answers to these questions (one answer per question) will help you measure how deftly you juggle your commitments and how much you could benefit from renewing.

ONE: HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU REALLY LAUGH YESTERDAY?
0 (0 points)
1–2 (1 point)
3–4 (2 points)
5–6 (3 points)
7+ (4 points)

TWO: HOW OFTEN DO YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW?
Haven’t learned a new subject in the last year (0 points)
I’m focused exclusively on my field (1 point)
I read or search widely beyond my field (2 points)
I take courses outside my field (3 points)
I teach others (4 points)

THREE: HOW MANY TIMES IN THE PAST THREE DAYS DO YOU (OR OTHERS) THINK YOU OVERREACTED, LET A LITTLE THING GET TO YOU IN A BIG WAY?
0 (4 points)
1–2 (3 points)
3–4 (2 points)
5–6 (1 point)
7+ (0 points)

FOUR: HOW OFTEN IN THE PAST MONTH DID YOU FEEL TRAPPED, A PRISONER OF CIRCUMSTANCES?
Never (4 points)
Once or twice (3 points)
Three or four times (2 points)
Five or six times (1 point)
More than seven times (0 points)

FIVE: HOW OFTEN DO YOU TYPICALLY HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF YOUR PROFESSION?
Every day or two (4 points)
Once a week (3 points)
Every other week (2 points)
Once a month (1 point)
A few times a year (0 points)

womantwistingSIX: WHEN DID YOU LAST FEEL BOLD ENOUGH TO TAKE A RISK?
Within the past week (4 points)
1–2 weeks ago (3 points)
3–8 weeks ago (2 points)
3–6 months ago (1 point)
Can’t remember (0 points)

SEVEN: HOW MANY SIT-DOWN DINNERS DID YOU HAVE WITH YOUR FAMILY OR FRIENDS IN THE PAST WEEK?
0 (0 points)
1–2 (1 point)
3–4 (2 points)
5–6 (3 points)
7+ (4 points)

EIGHT: HOW MANY TIMES IN THE PAST WEEK DID YOU SPEND MORE THAN ONE HOUR REFRESHING YOUR BODY OR SPIRIT (NOT COUNTING EATING OR SLEEPING)?
6+ (4 points)
4–5 (3 points)
2–3 (2 points)
1 (1 point)
None (0 points)

NINE: HOW OFTEN DO CONSIDER YOUR OWN ASPIRATIONS WHEN YOU MAKE DECISIONS?
My what? (0 points)
Rarely (1 point)
Sometimes (2 points)
Frequently (3 points)
Always (4 points)

TEN: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU ENCOURAGED SOMEONE?
Today (4 points)
This week (3 points)
This month (2 points)
Two or three months ago (1 point)
Six months ago or more (0 points)

YOUR SCORE =

SCORE & DIAGNOSIS

31 – 40
Superstar juggler. You’re doing great. Keep renewing yourself and others.

25 – 30
All-star juggler. You have plenty of balls in the air, but you’re paying a price. What will you do to renew?

20 – 24
Two-star juggler. You’re probably worried about how you will keep all those balls in the air. This is a splendid time to reflect and renew.

0 – 19
No-star juggler. You seem to have too many balls in the air, or you could be discouraged or overwhelmed. Think about making a quick U-turn toward renewing!

– Linda Hawes Clever, MD, attended Stanford University, where she earned her medical degree. Linda is known for “firsts,” which include: first woman Governor in the American College of Physicians; and first woman editor of the Western Journal of Medicine. She is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. In 1998, she founded RENEW, a non-profit organization that aims to help busy, devoted people regain—or maintain—their effectiveness and creativity. Linda has chaired the board of KQED Public Radio and served on the Stanford University Board of Trustees for fourteen years. She is the author of The Fatigue Prescription: Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health and Life from Viva Editions.

Part 1 – Fatigue Prescription – Renew-O-Meter

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By Dr. Linda Hawes Clever

womanTired? Feeling pressed and under-appreciated? Low on energy? Grumpy? Often grumpy? Sighing a lot? Head-achy? Back-achy? Losing your creative edge? On the edge? Calendar more of a wishlist than a schedule?

You are not alone. I will show you how to get beyond fatigue.

I have spent years as a multitasking physician. I’ve tried to be a good wife, parent, speaker, counselor, and community volunteer while working to prevent people from getting sick or injured. I tried to heal them when prevention didn’t work. I’ve seen people get sicker and more tired despite my best efforts and theirs. I have come to realize that, along with hazards, habits, and jobs, the lives of most of the people around us demand almost too much of us.

I didn’t think much about overdoing it except to apply bandages to patients and friends—until the wheels fell off of my own life. In one eighteen-month period, my parents died, our house was burglarized, I lost two jobs, and my husband Jamie was diagnosed with cancer. One ray of light was our daughter Sarah. My spirits went from flying high to sinking forty thousand leagues under the sea. Not only was I devastated and overwhelmed, I was tired.

Many devoted, capable people with plenty of good things going on and lots to look forward to are felled by fatigue. My fatigue came from too much sorrow. Yours may, too. Or from overreaching and overworking. Or all of the above. You long to do more for your family, your work, and the world, yet you can’t get up the steam to get going; you’re just too darned tired. The dangerous endpoint is to shut down.

After months of mourning and hoping, it became clear to me that the people and structures I had counted on had vanished.

After months of mourning and hoping, it became clear to me that the people and structures I had counted on had vanished. I saw that I needed to renew, refresh, and rebuild my whole life. When I was finally able to look around, I also saw that too many other people were suffering. Some had losses; others had anxieties and uncertainties. Most were soldiering on with huge loads of work and responsibilities, no longer bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Some wondered if they could keep on at their pace without losing their zest; Something had to be done. There had to be a better way.

My good friend and mentor, John W. Gardner, former Secretary of the Unites States Department of Health, Education and Welfare and founder of Common Cause, had written on leadership, excellence, and renewing. I decided this was the time to put John’s theory of renewing into practice. But how?

First I revisited the values that underlay my commitments and therefore my calendar. The things that matter most to me include family, friends, and wanting to make a difference through medicine. Early on, I didn’t know how to get beyond re-certifying my values, but with John’s advice and prodding, I started to give talks at meetings and seminars for doctors, nurses, teachers, volunteers, churchgoers, executives, and other leaders. I asked questions and listened as people attested to the importance of renewing. Then I asked them to list the ways they did it. I kept track of all the answers. As ideas crystallized, some friends and I organized the not-for-profit RENEW. John gave a rousing keynote speech at our first one-and-a-half-day gathering. He pointed out that meaning is something you build into your life. The link between finding meaning in your life and conquering fatigue is to renew yourself—your spirit, energy, dreams, and relationships. Paying attention to others and myself, I took on a do-it-yourself project to do just that.

womanarmupOver the decade since starting RENEW, I have determined that most of us go through four steps to restore ourselves. It isn’t a direct path from the first to the last step, either. You may well meander, take a rest, double back, or detour. That’s all right, because you have a tested, successful approach to guide you. This approach has worked for thousands—including me—and I believe it will work for you. I call it the Fatigue Prescription.

The tried and true Renew-O-Meter is a good starting point. We designed it to help jugglers like you gauge your feelings and behavior. Fill in the blanks and begin to think about how pleased you are with your life—or how tired you are. And how you would like your life to be.

To view Part 2 of this article, and to try the Renew-O-Meter, Click here.

– Linda Hawes Clever, MD, attended Stanford University, where she earned her medical degree. Linda is known for “firsts,” which include: first woman Governor in the American College of Physicians; and first woman editor of the Western Journal of Medicine. She is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. In 1998, she founded RENEW, a non-profit organization that aims to help busy, devoted people regain—or maintain—their effectiveness and creativity. Linda has chaired the board of KQED Public Radio and served on the Stanford University Board of Trustees for fourteen years. She is the author of The Fatigue Prescription: Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health and Life from Viva Editions.