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I cannot afford my prescriptions, what can I do?

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Updated: March 16, 2007

Lowering Cost of Medications

Question: I cannot afford my prescriptions, what can I do?

My doctor has prescribed a couple of medications, but I cannot afford them every month. I tried stopping one of my antidepressants last month, but I know the doctor will ask me how the medications are working. Is there anything that I can do?

Answer:

For anybody, the cost of maintaining prescription medications can be difficult. Those with borderline personality disorder are often prescribed more than one or two medications to address their symptoms. Even with insurance coverage for medications, the costs can add up. What does this mean? You need the medications, but how are you supposed to pay for them? What if you do not have insurance?

There are options.

  1. Talk to your prescribing doctor about any difficulties you may have in paying for your medications.
    Ask about the possibility of using a generic form of your medication. Is it possible to switch to something that is more affordable? Is it possible to use a higher dosage tablet that could then be broken into smaller doses? Does your doctor have any free samples that she could give you?
  2. Call pharmacies at different stores and find out how much they charge for the medication that you need.
    If you are paying for your medications through insurance, your out-of-pocket costs are most likely set. However, if you are paying directly for medications, and not using insurance, it is in your best interest to check around. Remember that discount stores often have pharmacies that offer the same medications for less money; check out the prices of your prescriptions at stores like Costco (no membership is needed for pharmacy purchases), Target, and Walmart. Drug prices can also vary widely among traditional drug stores.
  3. Check into your online/mail-in pharmacy options.
    Many insurance companies offer "discounts" if you order your prescriptions through their online or mail-in services. You may find that you receive saving such as three months for the price of two months of copayments. The savings and availability of these plans will vary based on your coverage, but it is certainly worth looking into.
  4. Find out about free or low cost clinics.
    There are a limited number of programs available that supply low-cost medications; some are through drug companies, some through stores (Walmart has one), and some through local hospitals or clinics. Talk to your physician, therapist, and/or pharmacist to find out if you are eligible for any of these services.

Whatever you do, do not stop taking your medicine on your own. There is a reason that your doctor chose those medications. It is important to work with your physician to make sure that you are able to comply with the treatment outlined. Your physician would rather discuss and find options with you, than find out later that you did not take the medications because they were too expensive.

Next Question:

How do SSRIs work in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder?

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