Use These Tips to Save on Your Next Prescription

doctor When unexpected illness strikes, a visit to your doctor’s office may be the only thing that helps you feel back to normal. When a physician writes a prescription for a medication that relieves your symptoms or eases your pain, the effects can be significant on your health. The effectiveness, however, is dependent on the ability to take the medication as directed by the physician. Regardless of your health coverage, medications can add a significant cost to your expenses. Be sure to speak to your doctor about these five money-saving tips when you are looking to stretch your budget further.

1. Ask about medication-free options.

Some medications reduce the risk of certain conditions or stall the acceleration of symptoms associated with diseases. Many times, lifestyle changes can reduce the risks without having to take the prescribed medications. Changes in activities and diet can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and control diabetes. Be sure to discuss these options with your physician to see changes in your diet and exercise routine would be beneficial to your health. If lifestyle changes would help in your diagnosis, it is important to set goals with the help of your doctor. This will allow your physician to check on your progress and confirm that your changes are in fact benefiting you.

2. Discuss generic medication options.

Drug companies have very strict rules that they must abide by when producing a medication. They only have the right to market their drug exclusively for a specific period. After this time, other companies may begin to market generic options of the drug. Using a generic option can save you money.

While the newest drugs on the market may not have a generic option, there may be another drug that is similar or that can provide the similar results. For example, drugs for high blood pressure come in different classes and may help reduce blood pressure in a slightly different way. Your doctor may be able to provide you a less expensive medication in a similar class, saving you money.

3. Consider what a medication will cost in the long-term.

Sometimes a new medication will become a lifelong prescription. Asking your physician for a less expensive option now can save you money down the road. While a $30 a month prescription may not seem like too much now, understand that a year will cost you $360. If a similar prescription can be used costing $12 a month, you will save over $200 a year.

4. Free is not always better.

Pharmaceutical companies provide physicians with free samples to hand out to patients in hopes that the patients will purchase their product after the samples have run out. Unfortunately, these samples are for the newest medications on the market, meaning the prices will be premium once you have to start paying for them. Samples can be helpful when a patient only requires a limited amount of the medication. However, when beginning a new regiment that will span months or years, you should avoid samples. Ask your physician for a generic option that is similar to the offered sample.

5. Pharmacists can provide options as well.

After your doctor writes the prescription, you may think you are stuck with the medication. Your pharmacist can tell you if there are generic options available for purchase. Some pharmacies automatically dispense generic medications without being asked. Also remember that drug companies lose the ability to sell their exclusive product after so many years. Even if you have discussed generic options with your doctor or pharmacist in the past, ask again. There may now be generic medications available to save you money.

(Jessica Bosari writes about money-saving topics for The site helps those on tight budgets find apartments for rent that they can afford.)

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