The Saturday Share #7
So to do my part in trying to keep internet health information correct I’ve been two-timing my blog by writing over at Sharecare were I am one of their “Experts” answering diabetes questions posted by readers.
I’m having a blast, and I’ve decided that every week I’m going to share one of my favorite questions with you here.
Sharecare Question: Can I take OTC drugs instead of levothyroxine as I cannot afford it?
My “Expert” answer: Yikes! Breaks my heart when I hear stories like this, but I have good news, levothyroxine is a generic thyroid hormone replacement medication, and as such, is on the $4 list at Wal-Mart. Surely you can swing $4 a month? That’s cheaper than most OTC meds, after all.
Your thyroid med is not optional. If your doc prescribed this medication, you are hypothyroid, and that funky little organ in your neck is under producing the chemicals that drive your metabolism for the whole day. Without your pills at best you’ll be dragging through the day, and at worst will fall asleep at the wheel driving.
Oh, and be sure to take it in the morning with a nice glass of water quite a bit before you eat, and without any other pills. Like a spoiled toddler, levothyroxine does not play nice with others.
But there are lots of other needed meds for which there are no generic alternatives, and at first glance that may seem pretty hopeless, so I want to spend a quick moment on that. Some frontline drugs can be $200, $300, $400 a month or more.
If you have no health insurance, or if you are in Medicare Part D’s “doughnut hole” you will probably qualify for Patient Assistance. The big pharma companies all give hundreds of thousands of dollars of drugs away every month. Check the website of the medication you need, or contact your local community health center. In addition to Patient Assistance, many Federally Qualified Health Centers have what are called 340B pharmacies. The 340B is a non-profit cash only pharmacy that sells meds at the price the Veteran’s Administration pays, plus a very small administrative fee.
The prices can range from fair to amazing, sometimes literally pennies on the dollar.
You can check out other Expert’s answers to this question, and my answers to many more questions by going here:
Then select the “Answers” tab near the top left.
Commenting on your ShareCare post on whether diabetes skips a generation. I am living proof that it does. My grandmother had diabetes. My mother didn't. She had a very round belly, was fat, never exercised, lived to be 80, and NEVER had any indication of diabetes or metabolic syndrome. She was an RN, and received regular medical exams, so she wasn't an "undiscovered" diabetic. There was no diabetes in my father's family; he was skinny all his life, had high cholesterol, but no other symptoms of metabolic syndrome. So why do I have it? The only conceivable answer is that it skipped a generation.
Of course, it could be that I have some unusual variant of Type 2 -- the sulfonylureas didn't work, and I was on insulin within 5 months of my formal diagnosis, but still, Type 2 can pop up out of seemingly nowhere.
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