Help: Can't Afford medications

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterby96, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. flutterby96

    flutterby96 New Member

    Long story, short: we have no medical insurance & won't be able to get any in the forseeable future. difficult child has been with-o medications (Abilify, 5mg daily) for 2 months & is now worse off than before medications. psychiatrist had prescribed Abilify & Remeron, which worked well for a while. But, I can't afford the Abilify & am not having success with-any of the prescription assistance programs. Can anyone suggest a less expensive option? We see the psychiatrist next week, and don't want to waste the $75 and a very short 10 min appointment by getting a scrip I can't afford to fill. Thoughts? We're getting pretty desperate around here.

    ** difficult child is 6yo daughter, Tuna, with-Anxiety Disorder not otherwise specified & Bipolar Tendencies**
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Have you called the makers of Abilify to ask if they have any programs to help patients afford Abilify?
    Have you asked your psychiatrist if he has any Abilify samples to give to you (the drug company reps frequently give psychiatrists free samples to give to their patients)?
    Have you asked your psychiatrist if he believes your daughter would do well on a medication in the same class (atypical antipsychotic) for which there is a generic that would be less expensive (for example, Risperdal)?

    How is Remeron working?

    I hope you are able to find a suitable solution.
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Another idea might be to look at the older APs. In many cases they do work well and do not have the same side effects, though granted what side effects they have can be horrible.

    At least you don't get the weight gain with them.

    It might be an idea to ask psychiatrist about. If nothing else, several of the old APs are available on the 'four dollar programs' many pharmacies have.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  5. flutterby96

    flutterby96 New Member

    Thank you to all! I have tried some of the rx assist programs, but haven't gotten far since I need the psychiatrist to write a new scrip. I've thought of asking for samples, but I'm worried about what happens when they run out & I can't afford to buy her more. That's why I'm hoping for a long-term alternative to the Abilify (plus, she's had excessive weight gain on it). I've been checking the generics at my local pharmacies... does anyone know where I can find out typical dosing info for kids for the antipsychotic drugs? I'm just trying to be as well-prepared as possible for our meeting next week... psychiatrist doesn't seem to be very informed about drug costs, etc. Thanks to everyone & I'll follow up on those links/suggestions!
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    If you are an AAA member (yes, the towing service), they offer a discount on prescription medications. Not all pharmacies accept it, check with AAA, but that discount was a lifesaver for us when we had no insurance and Miss KT had not yet gotten Medi-Cal. The discount varies, it's not a set percentage, but worth checking into.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    By all means, ASK for samples!!! Don't be shy about it. Our psychiatrist gives them out readily, especially if he knows a family is in hard financial circumstances. And tell the psychiatrist about your financial situation. He/she may have access to resources you hadn't considered.
  8. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    GCVMom is right -- tell the psychiatrist. Our psychiatrist prescribed Lexapro for difficult child, but when I told him it wasn't covered by our insurance and the cost was outrageous, he switched to Zoloft, which is available in a generic. And it's working just fine.
  9. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    Have you looked into any state insurance programs? In NY we have child health plus. My kids have been on CHP and medicaid.

    You should apply for medicaid. If you don't qualify, they should bounce you over to the paid program.

    Have you considered applying for SSI for the kids? If approved, they'd also have medicaid (which I personally have no complaints about!).
  10. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In my expereince looking for Rx programs for Youngest, I found that the programs directly from the manufacturers are much less costly than the advertised "Prescription discount" programs. Some have emergency programs, you can get medications within days.

    Here's the site/program for the Abilify manufacterer:

    Also, here are the numbers specific to Abilify:
    Bristol-Myers Squibb Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc. (ABILIFY®)

    Contact Information
    Bristol-Myers Squibb Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc.
    1 (800) 736-0003 (phone)
    1 (866) 598-5561 (fax)
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If you are unemployed and going to school...or just working parttime and your husband is unemployed and going through a training program, you should qualify for getting your kids on the state health insurance for your kids. Please check into that asap. Call social services.
  13. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Also if your psychiatrist takes e-mails, I would e-mail him all of this info prior to the apt. so he knows what is up and can have an idea about a possible medication change or a way to help you before hand. THis can help with wasted time during the apt.

    We do this all of the times with ours, short and to the point.

    In one of your last posts I think some listed resources in AZ. Did you look into any of those?

    Also, I would look into the Hospitals up there and see if they are doing any trials. We have some going on down here there haven't been any good ones for K. But if you keep checking one might come up. I know there is a Clinic, A very famous one starts with an "M"... you never know? This may be good for the future?
  14. flutterby96

    flutterby96 New Member

    Thanks to all... it's such a help to know we're not alone, since that how it feels most of the time.

    We actually were on AHCCCS (AZ State Health Ins) for a while when my husband lost his job, but we recently got booted for being $100/month over the income guidelines. KidsCare will cover children for a small monthly premium, but there's now an "enrollment cap" due to lack of state funding for the program. I'm going to reapply for AHCCCS this month as I've been working less since school started this semester. I'm hoping we qualify again but, it's a mixed bag because you have to go thru the State Providers & we've not had good luck with them. But, they do pay for the medications - which is what I need right now. Unfortunately, it'll be another 60 days or so til we can see if we qualify.

    So, in the meantime, I'm debating if we should just try to limp it out with the Abilify (scrounge for samples, use some discount programs, etc), or if we should just try switching to a lower cost drug altogether. I'm leaning toward the latter, simply because it allows me much more control over the situation. I hate relying on the gov't or an assist program for treatment & medications - Tuna went off the Abilify cold-turkey because we got dropped with no warning. That was fun! Argh!!! If she does okay on a less expensive medication, I don't have to worry about not being able to pay for it if we get ousted again.

    I have a call into County Mental Health Services & I tried the local children's hospital without much success. From what I've learned from hanging out here, persistence is the key. So, wish me luck as I hit the phones again today.

    It's been a tough day already with-Tuna talking to herself about how she knows "just how to kill Mommy" and scratching at me while getting dressed for school. Breaks my heart to hear, even though I know it's not really her... ya know? I'm so tired of seeing her suffer when I know treatment is out there, and I feel so awful for not being able to get it for her.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Some psychiatrists have special forms where they submit Rx's for patients in need
    to companies that don't have an open program. Perhaps yours would help you out. Good luck. DDD
  16. flutterby96

    flutterby96 New Member

    UPDATE: Was able to get into a program thru County MH for psychiatric treatment for Tuna. Only $5 per session (forgot to ask if it included medications or just an rx) which ROCKS!!! It's a drive, but I don't care. It's docs who have already completed medication school & are just doing their 2 years for specializing in Child Psychiatry. How great is THAT?!?!? Tuna starts therapy today at a Community MHC for free, so now I just have to track down how we're going to do the medications. I truly cannot thank everyone enough for all the advice & support. I know we have a long way to go, and that BiPolar (BP) will always be a part of our lives. But, I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time.
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Wow, that's GREAT!!! Hopefully the medication issue can also be resolved through them!
  18. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Yes, definitely ask at community mental health about medication assistance. I'm sure someone there will be able to direct you.

    Glad you're on your way to help for Tuna.
  19. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    That's great news, flutterby96! I'm very glad you made the right connection.

    Although not related to mental health medications, I thought I'd mention my recent pharmacy/insurance experience just in case it might help someone. I've been taking an antihistamine (Allegra-D) for about 13 years now and my insurance has always covered it at a cost of $20 per month to me. I went to fill it the first week of the year and the pharmacist told me insurance rejected it and that he thought it might be because a generic came out the first of the year. I told him to fill the name brand if covered and if not, to go ahead with the generic. Later I came back and found he'd filled the generic, but the cost to me was $70! After multiple phone calls to the insurance company and to my usual plus several different pharmacies, one pharmacy tech made the discovery that if the script had the "do not substitute" checked by the doctor, it would still cover name brand at $20, but if it was left blank or had the generic checked, it wasn't. It didn't make sense to any of us but I called the doctor's office and they called it back in that way and I'm still out $20 per month instead of $70.

    Lesson learned: when a prescription is denied, make sure to double check all the options.