Treating and preventing osteoporosis - image - wellrx

by Tek Neopaney, University of Arizona College of Pharmacy Student

Each year, millions of Americans, who may otherwise feel fine, are diagnosed with Osteoporosis. Developing osteoporosis puts people at higher risk for fractures, especially in the hips, spine, and wrists. Women are at much higher risk, with 10 percent of women age 50 and older affected by osteoporosis, compared with just two percent of men that age.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is defined by low bone mass that results in decreased bone density, and bones become more prone to fracture. Osteoporosis often has no symptoms until there is a bone fracture. Bone strength decreases with the loss of bone mass, which is related to many factors such as, a decrease in bone mineral density, rate of bone formation and turnover, and the shape of the bones.

Postmenopausal women often have low bone density due to estrogen deficiency. With early diagnosis of bone loss and fracture risk, available therapies can slow or even reverse the progression of osteoporosis and help prevent bone fracture1. Vertebrae and hip fracture is common in osteoporosis patients. About two-thirds of the bone fractures are asymptomatic2, meaning patients won’t even be aware they have a fracture. Many patients without symptoms assume they don’t have osteoporosis, so it’s important for all post-menopausal women to get an osteoporosis evaluation.

Calcium Vitamin Supplements

If you are unable to achieve adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D from diet alone, you should take supplements for bone growth and development. Children ages 9 to 18 should consume approximately 1300 mg of calcium per day from calcium rich food sources, and 600 mg of vitamin D from vitamin D-fortified food. Children who have a wide variety of foods in their diet, and are growing well, should not need calcium and vitamin D supplementation3. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation likely only benefits children with inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake3.

Most postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, 1200 mg calcium (total dietary and supplement) and 800 international units of vitamin D are recommended. Although optimal intake of calcium (diet plus supplement) for pre-menopausal women and men with osteoporosis is not established, generally suggested doses are 1000 mg of calcium (diet and supplement) and 600 international units of vitamin D4.

Exercise – It’s Important!

Exercise is strongly associated with a reduction in hip fractures in older women5. Regular exercise has shown to have positive effect on bone mineral density (BMD). BMD is the measure of calcium in your bone. In studies, a variety of exercises such as, jogging, resistance training, swimming, and walking were effective. Women with osteoporosis should exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week, to build bone strength and help prevent fractures. Exercise helps to increase muscle strength, reducing the risk of fracture from fall.

Pharmacological Therapy

In addition to lifestyle measures and calcium and vitamin D supplementation, patients at high risk for fractures should also receive drug therapy. Patients with a history of fragility fracture or osteoporosis based on BMD, benefit from medication. All patients treated with medication should have a normal calcium and vitamin D level prior to starting drug therapy, and should also receive vitamin D and calcium supplements if their dietary source is inadequate6.

Oral bisphosphonates such as, alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva) are the first line of therapy for postmenopausal women. These agents decrease the rate of bone breakdown leading indirectly to an increased BMD. Bisphosphonates are effective, inexpensive, and have long-term safety data on preventing hip and vertebrate fracture6. These drugs are usually taken once a weekly.

Putting it All Together

With so many Americans developing osteoporosis, it’s important to realize it could happen to you, so talk to your doctor about your risks. To help prevent, and possibly reverse Osteoporosis:

  • Bond density screening is important to detect osteoporosis
  • Get enough calcium and Vitamin D in your diet or take supplements to help prevent osteoporois
  • Exercise helps build bone mass and strengthen your bones
  • There are available drugs to treat osteoporosis that are inexpensive and have proven safe to take over time.

References:

  1. Cosman F, de Beur SJ, LeBoff MS, et al. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Osteoporos Int 2014; 25:2359.
  2. World Health Organization. Assessment of fracture risk and its application to screening for postmenopausal osteoporosis. Geneva 1994. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/WHO_TRS_843.pdf  (Accessed on March 09, 2012).
  3. Winzenberg TM, Shaw K, Fryer J, Jones G. Calcium supplementation for improving bone mineral density in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006; :CD005119.
  4. Cosman F, de Beur SJ, LeBoff MS, et al. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Osteoporos Int 2014; 25:2359.
  5. Gregg EW, Cauley JA, Seeley DG, et al. Physical activity and osteoporotic fracture risk in older women. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Ann Intern Med 1998; 129:81.
  6. Crandall CJ, Newberry SJ, Diamant A, et al. Comparative effectiveness of pharmacologic treatments to prevent fractures: an updated systematic review. Ann Intern Med 2014; 161:711.

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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what is this med for image - wellrx

by Seth Root
PharmD Candidate – Midwestern University

If you’re on a prescription medication, you probably know it’s important to make sure you take that medication as prescribed by your doctor. What many patients don’t know, however, is that it is also important to know why you’re taking that medication, or why your doctor prescribed that medication for you. There are many reasons why knowing the purpose of your medications are important, but we’re only covering a few of them in this blog post.

Purpose of the Medication

Medications are generally made for a specific purpose, like aspirin is made to be a pain reliever. However, knowing what a medication is generally used for isn’t enough, as doctors may prescribe medications for things other than what the medication was originally meant to treat. For example, even though aspirin is meant to be a pain reliever, your doctor may prescribe it as a blood thinner.

Sometimes medications are prescribed for other purposes than what the manufacturer intended. This is known as off-label use. But this can make it difficult to accurately research your medications online. Researching your medications on the internet might be quick  and convenient, but even if the information is accurate (which often it is not) it might not reflect the information you need, as you might be taking the medication for a purpose other than what the drug was initially designed for. Therefore, if you have questions about why you’re taking a medication, the best person to ask is the doctor that prescribed it to you, or your local pharmacists.

This might have you thinking why it’s important to know the purpose of your medication. There are many reasons for this, one of which has to do with side effects. All medications have side effects. Side effects are important to consider as they can seriously impact your quality of life. How many medications you’re on is one of the most important determining factors regarding what side effects you’ll experience.

This is where knowing what purpose your medications are for comes into play, as sometimes we are on multiple medications for the same disease, but because you’re on multiple medications you’re experiencing side effects that you wouldn’t experience if you were on just one of the medications. This is known as a drug-drug interaction. If you can identify which medications are treating the same disease, it’s possible you can reduce the number of medications you’re on, which will help cut down on the number and/or intensity of side effects.

Where to Start

If you’re wondering where to start learning about your medications, as mentioned before the best place to start is by asking the doctor that prescribed the medication to you. Even if everything is good, you may be surprised with what you learn, like helpful tips on how to maximize the medication effect or ways to reduce the side effect. Another good person to ask is your pharmacist, especially if you’re on multiple medications. They can help identify drug-drug interactions you might be experiencing, can recommend similar medicines that might have less side effects and/or are cheaper, and can also give helpful tips about managing your medications and their side effects.

The biggest thing to do when learning about medications is to make sure to take them as prescribed. If for whatever reason you don’t want to continue taking the medication, the worst thing you can do is not tell your doctor or pharmacist about it. They’re here to help you. Even if you don’t want to take your medications, they can work around that the best they can or possibly find a more suitable medication. If you don’t take your medications as prescribed, they may think that your disease is not responding to the medications and therefore prescribe more medications to try to control it. This can lead to unnecessary prescribing and more side effects, as well as being more expensive. So please, talk to your doctor and/or pharmacists about your medications and the reason why you were prescribed them. In the long run, it will be helpful for you.

 


If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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Medication for insomnia image

by Alyssa Kasher, PharmD Candidate 2018
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy

Sleep is a precious commodity that everyone needs to function. Individual sleep needs are different; some people need a few extra hours while others need less. Some people are light sleepers, while others “sleep like logs.” Sleep habits can also change temporarily, for example during college or after a baby is born. Despite varying needs, all people need adequate sleep to function. Sleep loss negatively affects work performance, mood and overall health. In light of this, it is important to identify factors that are causing you to lose sleep. It’s important to speak with your doctor to see if ongoing sleep problems are caused by clinical insomnia.

How do I know it’s clinical insomnia?

Clinical insomnia is diagnosed by having all of the following 3 conditions1:

  1.       Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early
  2.       The above difficulty occurs even with plenty of time to sleep in an ideal environment
  3.       Sleep loss causes decreased function during the daytime

What causes insomnia?

Historically, insomnia has been viewed as a condition that occurs secondary to another disease or condition. Recent studies show us that insomnia does occur by itself without any identifiable reasons1. You should still check with your doctor to see if another medication you take or condition you have is causing insomnia.

Treatment of insomnia

First line treatment for insomnia includes behavioral counseling and improving sleep hygiene. For information on non-drug therapies, check out our previous blog post written by Jenny Bingham, PharmDShould you and your doctor decide to use medication to treat insomnia, it is important to tell your doctor about other medication you are taking as well as any conditions you have.

Over the Counter Medications

  • Antihistamines purchased over the counter are commonly used to induce sleep as they can cause drowsiness1. While they are helpful, these medications should only be used short term. If your problems with sleep continue, you should consult with your doctor to ensure you get the appropriate treatment.

Prescription Medications

  • Non-benzodiazepines include other sleep drugs with varying mechanisms. They differ from benzodiazepines in that they usually have less anti-anxiety effects. Some of these drugs are approved only for short term use; while drugs formulated as extended release are better suited for long term use1.
  • Antidepressants can be used for sleep as many of them have a sedating effect. These are particularly useful in people who concurrently suffer from depression or anxiety, because the drug is also treating a potential cause of insomnia. The only antidepressant specifically FDA approved for insomnia is Silenor (doxepin) 1.
  • Other drugs are used for insomnia that have unique mechanisms
    • Rozerem (ramelteon) is a drug that encourages your body to release melatonin, which makes you sleepy. It has less side effects and less addiction potential than other drug types. It is also not a controlled substance.
    • Belsomra (suvorexant) is a first of its kind drug that blocks molecules in your brain that encourage wakefulness1. Because it has a long half-life, it can still cause day time drowsiness. It is a controlled substance due to abuse potential.

General Considerations

  • Sleep medications can make you drowsy, dizzy or experience day time sedation.
  • Many medications used to treat insomnia have a potential to be habit forming. They may also worsen insomnia if stopped suddenly. Use them exactly as directed by your doctor.
  • Sleep medications can impair your ability to perform tasks, so it is crucial to only take them once you are ready for bed. Do not use alcohol as impairment may be worsened.

Considerations in the Elderly

  • Since most sleep medications cause drowsiness to induce sleep, they can be especially dangerous when used in the elderly. This is true of both over the counter sleep medications (like diphenhydramine) as well as prescription drugs. This drowsiness can cause confusion, memory issues and serious falls. Consult your pharmacist or doctor before starting sleep medication.

 

References:

  1. Arand DL, Bonnet MH. Treatment of insomnia in adults. In: Basow DS, ed., UpToDate. Waltham (MA): UpToDate; 2016

Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash discount price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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healthy-family-healthy-savings

For those who are new to the ScriptSave® WellRx prescription savings program, you may not realize just how long our company has been in the business of saving patients money on their prescriptions. It’s actually well over 20 years – we date back to 1993.

It’s certainly nothing new to us to encounter people ‘paying it forward’ and helping to spread the word. That said, after all that time, we’ve only recently opened our website to guest bloggers.

Tabitha Blue describes herself as a, “Mommy, designer, blogger, wifey, sunshine chaser and lover of babies, lipstick, good food and beautiful things, especially when found in unexpected places.” Tabitha hosts the “Fresh Mommy Blog” and has been named Tampa’s most influential mommy blogger and hosts her own online cooking show, KitchenWise. She has made appearances on Daytime TV and has been featured multiple times in print and online magazines, other blogs and websites … and, now/here, we’re also thrilled to be letting her take over our blog page for this post about…

“Healthy Savings and Healthy Families For the Winter Season”
by Tabitha Blue

As a mom of four, I’m always looking for ways to take care of my family, working to keep them healthy, both emotionally and physically.

With cold and flu season in full swing, there are a few ways I help prepare my family and home to prevent the spread of germs and build up our immunity as much as possible:

1. Hydration

Keeping everyone hydrated is key to a healthy home. The effects of dehydration can be vast and it’s amazing how much better our bodies are at fighting off an impending virus when we’ve been pushing water and other fluids.

2. Vitamins

In the winter months, we may need to offer our bodies a little extra help in the vitamin department. Citrus fruits aren’t as fresh or readily available and we don’t soak up quite as much Vitamin D from the sun. (Note: One large lemon contains 45mg of Vitamin C, which makes it a huge immune boosting fruit. Add to water to get those extra “C”s). Find ways to up that vitamin intake through outdoor activities, fresh fruits & veggies and even a vitamin supplement.

3. Rest

A body that is tired is simply more susceptible to illness. While this absolutely applies to both adults and children, did you know that children between the ages 3-11 years need 10-12 hours of sleep a day? It seems like such a large number in our busy world full of extra-curricular activities, homework and more. But getting the right amount of rest and building a solid bedtime routine in the winter months is imperative to good health.

4. Hand washing

The one set of items that is ALWAYS with us and always transferring germs from one surface to another is our hands. Between school, dance classes, music lessons, sports, the library and every other place our kids have wandered, hands stay busy. Eating with unwashed hands, rubbing the face, fingers in the mouth (happens SO much more often that you might think, especially with little ones), all means that germs spread to our bodies quickly. Hand washing is one of the number-one ways of preventing that transfer. To help make it happen often, make it fun! Foam soaps, fun shapes or colors of soap, silly songs or competitions are all great ways to encourage hand washing.

Even with all of the best prevention methods in play, there will be times that a bug knocks one (or a few) of us down. When that happens, I like to be prepared!

5. ScriptSave WellRx

What’s worse than having a sick kiddo (or two, or three)? Having to drag them around from pharmacy to pharmacy finding the best deal or which one has what we need in stock. Because, you guys, I’ve totally been there … and actually have gone home empty-handed after dragging little-ones to 2 or 3 places because the right prescriptions weren’t in stock or we were referred somewhere else to find an affordable price. It can be exhausting.

Part of taking care of my home is making sure that I’m not spending money that doesn’t need to be spent. Shopping for prescriptions is not like shopping for groceries (but it should be). Prescription prices are not immediately obvious and finding the best deal is important to me, and it took me a while before I realized that different pharmacies can charge vastly different prices for exactly the same medications. This is where the ScriptSave WellRx website and mobile app can really help. Even having insurance coverage does not necessarily mean low-cost prescription meds and there have been times I’ve found that paying cash for some prescriptions has saved me money as well.

The ScriptSave WellRx website and mobile app has a fast, easy, free price-check tool that does all the local price-checking (kind of like searching for a hotel or a flight deal), which means just a few swipes from the comfort of my own home and I know exactly where to go to save money.

Anyone can register for free (and without even the need to enter credit card details) and, in doing so, have free access to a host of helpful tools (even besides the money savings!) like “Take-your-pill” reminders, prescription-refill reminders, Ask a Pharmacist hotline, multi-med pricing and more.

It’s a simple app to download and figure out, and one of the new features I really liked while searching for an antibiotic for my sweet babe and a different one for her big brother where I live outside of Tampa, Florida, is “Medicine Chest Pricing”. With it, just enter the details of multiple prescriptions at the same time, and then click the “Price-check” button to see EITHER, the one single pharmacy that offers the lowest ‘one-stop price’ OR the specific combination of pharmacies that will provide the lowest individual price for each single prescription.

Simple to use, and simple ways to save while keeping us healthy. A win for this busy family indeed.


Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.
If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!
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Five ways to live healthier

For those who are new to the ScriptSave® WellRx prescription savings program, you may not realize just how long our company has been in the business of saving patients money on their prescriptions. It’s actually well over 20 years – we date back to 1993.

It’s certainly nothing new to us to encounter people ‘paying it forward’ and helping spread the word about our prescription savings program. That said, after all that time, we’ve only recently opened our website to guest bloggers.

If you happen to be from the Asheville, NC area, you might well know Julie Wunder from TV. However, after an 11 year stint as a meteorologist and morning news personality on WLOS (which included an Emmy award for her efforts), she now curates the highly successful lifestyle blog, “Running In A Skirt” (attracting more than 100,000 unique readers every month) and we’re thrilled to be letting her take over our blog page for this post about…

“Living A Healthy Lifestyle Without Breaking The Bank”
by Julie Wunder

The New Year is the perfect time to make goals and be healthier. It seems easy enough on the surface, but the cost of your new clean & active life can add up quickly. From all those tempting ads for expensive exotic foods to the attractive boutique fitness classes, that nourishing new lifestyle can certainly come with a price-tag attached. But with a few easy swaps and tricks you can still hit your goals and actually save money doing it.

1. Plan Your Meals

Healthy living really does start and end in the kitchen. If you workout five days a week and still eat garbage, you will not feel as good as you could if you were eating a rainbow of healthy fruits and vegetables daily.

To save money on your new healthy eats, plan your grocery trips ahead of time. Before you meal plan, check your stores weekly sales online and what is in season ahead of time. That can give you a great jumping off point for meal ideas that aren’t going to be crazy expensive. Also check healthy living blogs for creative dinner ideas. Meal plan, make a list and go into the store buying just what is on the list. Shop smart and reduce the urge to impulse buy.

2. Eat More Plant Based Meals

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to get the benefits of eating the occasional plant based meal! Plant based meals are not only often less expensive but they can also reduce your risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease and obesity. Beans, oats and in-season vegetables are all very budget conscious items at the store that make great meals. Scan through this page for some great vegetarian recipes like this Nourishing Crock Pot Vegetarian Lentil Soup. It’s protein packed, inexpensive and delicious!

3. Consider workouts without using a gym

Gyms are great, but the price of membership can add up. There are so many great home workouts you can do for free with little to no equipment. A quick google search can help here, or check my “Running in a Skirt” blog site for the ones that I really like. Also consider taking up running. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a running outfit in technical fabric to start. You can save hundreds of dollars doing this! Of course, if you have any concerns related to health or physical limitations in this regard, you should always consult your licensed healthcare professional for guidance on what’s appropriate.

4. Drink Water

There are so many expensive beverages on the market right now, ranging from sodas to sports drinks to bottled fancy enhanced water.

Skip all of that and buy yourself a nice refillable water bottle and fill it up often. Water is almost always free and is the best thing you can be drinking for your body anyway.

5. Don’t Overpay for Prescriptions

For many of us, staying healthy means staying on top of our prescriptions. I have asthma and get a pill and two inhalers filled regularly. I wish I didn’t need them, but I do. I don’t breathe well without them so they are a key part of my healthy lifestyle. Over the years, these medicines have gone up and up in price and the cost can be overwhelming.

I always thought I had to just take the price I got at the pharmacy I went to all the time, but I recently learned that I can shop for my meds in the same way I shop for groceries. Prescription costs can actually vary so much from place to place, even with insurance—who knew! The new ScriptSave WellRx website & mobile app make it easier than ever to personalize my shopping experience to make sure I’m getting the best deal on my prescriptions.

The ScriptSave WellRx app is a free download, requires no credit card details and has no membership fee. Trying it out costs you nothing and it could save you a boat load of cash!

All you do is put in your zip code and enter any medicines you are taking.

The ScriptSave WellRx app will then do the price-shopping for you. It shows you the price of meds at all the pharmacies near you. It shows the cost without having insurance and it may surprise you that sometimes it is less than your co-pay.

I did a simple search for one of my meds and saw just how different the price can be from pharmacy to pharmacy. It ranged from $12-$35 a month … which could really add up since I take it every day. The app has saved some of us 80% and, on average, there is a 45% savings. Not bad for something they provide to patients for FREE and with no strings! There is even a feature that will let me put all three of my prescriptions into the app and find the one pharmacy that has the overall lowest price – they call it “Medicine Chest Pricing” (although you need to create a free account to access that feature, in order for them to be able to keep your data secure).

I’ll be checking back the Script WellRx app before each refill because prescription prices can change daily.

Hopefully these simple tips can help you reach your health goals and help you save a little cash at the same time!


Download the free ScriptSave WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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prescription savings app in hand - low-price map

Twitter-like App for Healthcare Professionals: Interview

by Tim Sandle, Dec 2, 2017

ScriptSave WellRx is disrupting the pharmaceutical industry by promoting price transparency with a free mobile app. Consumers rarely know what the “real” price is for their prescriptions. This now set to change and Dr. Marcus Sredzinski tells us how.

The new ScriptSave WellRx is allowing consumers in the U.S. to see the real price behind every prescription, regardless of where they live. ScriptSave WellRx is designed to provide instant savings at the pharmacy register for both brand-name and generic prescriptions.

The app is the idea of Dr. Marcus Sredzinski, who is the Chief Operating Officer at ScriptSave WellRx. Dr. Sredzinski has more than 24 years of experience in healthcare, working with the the largest insurers, health plans, pharmacies and pharmaceutical organizations across the U.S.

To discover how the app works and the benefits it can potentialy deliver, Digital Journal spoke with Dr. Sredzinski.

Digital Journal: Thanks for the interview. What are the current concerns with drug pricing?

Dr. Sredzinski: There’s simply too much confusion here, and that’s a big part of the problem. For example, in the pharmacy industry, talking about drug pricing requires more specificity; are we talking about the wholesale price, the retail price, the brand price, the generic price, the cash price, the discount price, etc.?

Of course, the patient is likely just concerned about getting the “best” price, but s/he has no solid benchmark to serve as a guide, and few people understand the intricacies. Therefore, we’re ultimately all left reading the kind of stats that grabbed headlines for Consumer Reports recently, suggesting that as many as 14 percent of Americans aren’t taking their medication because they can’t afford it.

DJ: How important is it to have greater price transparency for pharmaceuticals?

Dr. Sredzinski: The increasing presence of high-deductible and catastrophic health plans continues to put more emphasis on the need for patients to become knowledgeable consumers of healthcare. As such, it becomes essential for the industry to show up with universal price-transparency tools. That is one of the biggest visions of ScriptSave WellRx – to bring greater price transparency for all prescription drugs.

Traditional health plans utilize copays as a tool for members to pay for prescription drugs. Because of this, many patients have been blind to the actual cost of their meds. That’s simply not today’s reality and, now that the blinders are off, many patients are shocked at what they’re faced with.

DJ: How will the ScriptSave WellRx app work?

Dr. Sredzinski: It’s so much more than just a pricing and discount tool. Sure, that’s where it started – allowing patients to understand what it would cost to pay cash for their prescription and to get a discount relative to that cash price. However, we want people to realize that this as an adherence and persistence tool as well.

Not only does the app provide prescription price transparency, it also allows patients to set alerts for when they’re due to take their next pill, as well as when it’s time to order their next refill from the pharmacy. We’ve also built in functionality to help keep track of side-effects that the patient might want to share with their doctor. It really has come a long way from the early days of just providing discounts to those without insurance.

DJ: Where do you collect the data for the app from?

Dr. Sredzinski: We have some extremely long-standing and trusted relationships with pharmacies, many of whom we view as true partners in our endeavors. The data that we are privy to come from these pharmacy partners.

DJ: How often is the data updated?

Dr. Sredzinski: We have a team of pricing analysts who work on these data every single day. In fact, that’s all they do – day-in, day-out. Prescription pricing really can be that changeable and complex, which is why we encourage our members and patients all over to be regularly checking in with the ScriptSave WellRx app or website ahead of every refill – the data are updated every single day.

DJ: What has the response been from the pharmacy profession?

Dr. Sredzinski: We’ve spent the past 20 plus years working extremely closely with retail pharmacy networks and we’ve always been about more than just providing a discount. The focus is on the continuum of care and, as such, the responses we’ve attracted have generally reflected a visionary status among our partners over time.

From the pioneering efforts of some pharmacies who had us help with the building and running of their in-store pharmacy loyalty programs, to a new pharmacy MTM partnership with Sinfonia Healthcare Group, it’s always been a humbling experience to roll out new innovations in such collaborative ways.

DJ: How have consumers reacted?

Dr. Sredzinski: Every time I look at our Facebook page I’m blown away by the positive sentiment that folks seem to want to share with their family, friends, neighbors, etc. The world has truly become a digitally social place, and health-and-wellness related products like ours are no exception to the “Like” button. When we unveiled the new Medicine Chest feature, that one certainly got consumers’ attention, as did the free “Ask A Pharmacist” MTM program with Sinfonia.

DJ: What has the up-take been like?

Dr. Sredzinski: Way beyond expectations, and it’s not solely from the consumer and patient sector. We’ve been inundated by inquiries that run the gamut from health-and-tech entrepreneurs with ideas on possible evolutions, to insurance and pharmacy pioneers wanting to discuss potential opportunities to work more closely together.

Meanwhile, we have prescribing physicians telling us that we’re literally helping them to save patient lives by allowing them to hand out our savings card free with every prescription they write.

DJ: Where can the app be obtained from?

Dr. Sredzinski: It’s currently available for iPhone and Android, and there are links on the WellRx website to our listings in each of those app stores.

DJ: What other types of healthcare related technology interest you?

Dr. Sredzinski: Personalization and machine-learning are going to be part-and-parcel of how healthcare will be paid for in the future. Hyper-personalization is the key, and we’re taking this seriously. I recently co-authored a white paper on this topic with Gary Hawkins, the Founder & CEO of the Center for Advancing Retail and Technology (CART). The paper focuses on the massive disconnect between the healthcare, retail and grocery industries, as well as the roll big-data have to play in this regard.

Imagine allowing a patient with diabetes or high cholesterol to seamlessly share this information with local grocery stores and Consumer Product Goods (CPG) manufacturers. The next time this patient restocks the pantry, their personalized offers could easily reflect foods that have been certified by the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association.

DJ: What other projects are you working on?

Dr. Sredzinski: We have a couple of big ones in focus at the moment. The first is to take a new look at an older concept we helped pioneer way back in our early days as a young company. The market for pharmaceutical copay cards is ripe for evolution and that’s right in our wheelhouse, so we’ll be working with interested pharma manufacturers to help change the dynamic in this space. In tandem with that, as anyone who attended the National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ annual expo in August will know, our innovation in the personalized wellness space won industry recognition as we’re building a product to help connect retail pharmacy, retail grocery and consumer healthcare.

The project sees us working closely with some of the most innovative retail pharmacies and front-of-store retailers in the industry, and we’re bringing healthy offerings from the CPG space then syncing them to personal wellness profiles that patients can maintain within the ScriptSave WellRx platform.


Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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Pharmacogenomics pharmacogenetics image

by Leah Samera, PharmD Candidate, Class of 2018

As with most things, when it comes selecting a drug regimen for the treatment of chronic disease, one size does not fit all. If you take medications, you may have wondered why that is the case. One reason is because of pharmacogenomics.

Pharmacogenomics refers to “the entire spectrum of genes that interact to determine drug efficacy and safety.” In practice, many people may use the terms pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics interchangeably.

Pharmacogenetics, however, also refers to variants of one gene that affect drug response. The study of both pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics can help to optimize drug therapy and minimize drug toxicity based on an individual’s genetic profile.

What is a gene?

A gene is a series of codons that specify a particular protein. Genetic variation may result in altered protein sequence and function or in altered protein levels. This is significant, because these proteins can have an effect on how your body interacts with medications.

How do pharmacogenomic variations affect drug response?

The impact of pharmacogenomic variations on drug response have traditionally been divided into four categories:

  1. Those that affect drug pharmacokinetics. Pharmacokinetics refers to how a medication moves through a person’s body, i.e., how the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated.  An example of a genetic variation that affects pharmacokinetics is one in which drug metabolism is altered, subsequently affecting plasma concentration.
  2. Those that effect on pharmacodynamics. Pharmacodynamics refers to a person’s therapeutic response to a medication; this depends on a medication’s affinity and activity at its site of action. An example of a genetic variation that affects pharmacodynamics is one in which binding of a drug to its receptor is reduced, thereby decreasing therapeutic efficacy.
  3. Those that affect idiosyncratic reactions. An idiosyncratic reaction is an adverse reaction to a medication that is both rare and unpredictable. An example of a genetic variation that affects idiosyncratic reactions is one in which the likelihood of a hypersensitivity reaction to a certain drug is increased.
  4. Those that affect disease pathogenesis or severity and response to specific therapies. Pathogenesis refers to the origination and development of a disease. An example of a genetic variation that affects pathogenesis is a specific molecular defect related to the development of certain malignancies for which there are targeted therapies.

How can the study of pharmacogenomics help to optimize your drug therapy and minimize side effects?

Organizations like 23andMe allow people to “access, understand, and benefit” from the study of pharmacogenomics. With their simple home-based saliva collection kits, all you have to do is order their Health + Ancestry service; register, and spit into, the provided tube; and mail the kit back to their lab via the pre-paid package. Next, their lab extracts, processes, and analyzes the DNA from the cells in your saliva. Within 6 to 8 weeks, you get an email notifying you that you can view your results in your online account and discover what your DNA says about you. By sharing those results with your healthcare providers, they then can use that information to ensure that you get the most benefit from your medications while minimizing the risk of side effects.

References:

  1. Cavallari LH, Lam Y. Pharmacogenetics. In: DiPiro JT, Talbert RL, Yee GC, Matzke GR, Wells BG, Posey L. eds. Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach, 10e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; . http://accesspharmacy.mhmedical.com.ezproxy4.library.arizona.edu/content.aspx?bookid=1861&sectionid=146077703. Accessed September 12, 2017.
  2. Roden DM. Pharmacogenetics. In: Brunton LL, Knollmann BC, Hilal-Dandan R. eds. Goodman & Gilman’s: The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 13e New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; . http://accesspharmacy.mhmedical.com.ezproxy4.library.arizona.edu/content.aspx?bookid=2189&sectionid=167889559. Accessed September 12, 2017.
  3. Tantisira K, Weiss ST. Overview of pharmacogenomics. Post TW, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed September 13, 2017.
  4. Our Mission. 23andMe.com. https://mediacenter.23andme.com. Accessed September 13, 2017.
  5. How it works. 23andMe.com. https://www.23andme.com/howitworks. Accessed September 13, 2017.
  6. Our science. 23andMe.com. https://www.23andme.com/genetic-science. Accessed September 13, 2017.

ScriptSave WellRx Prescription Savings & Wellness News

Do you need to save money on your IBS, Chronic Pain, Cholesterol or other medications?

Visit www.WellRx.com to compare prices at pharmacies near you.

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Beating high prescription costs - WJLA

by Lisa Fletcher, ABC7 News

Washington, DC (WJLA) – Millions of Americans with health insurance still pay out-of-pocket for medications. And the cost can reach hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year.

But what many drugmakers and pharmacies don’t want you to know is that you could lower your medication costs, sometimes by as much as ten-times, by simply walking across the street to a competing pharmacy.

On a recent fall morning, ABC7 News caught up with Poet Taylor, the host of a popular Washington, DC radio show. As she regaled her listeners with stories and witty banter, you wouldn’t have guessed she suffers from asthma. Her job and her well-being depend on her ability to control it.

“Asthma is a very serious, serious diagnosis,” said Taylor. “The wrong medication could result in me having an asthma attack and not being properly medicated.”

But Taylor, like millions of Americans, is in the center of a tug-of-war between insurance providers and drugmakers.

Big insurance companies threaten to take popular medications off their coverage list unless drugmakers reduce the price. It’s a multimillion dollar game of chicken and the drug companies don’t always flinch.

Taylor recalled a recent, surprising trip to her pharmacy. “I put in my normal refill. I’m feeling good. And I get a call from my pharmacy and the pharmacy is like, ‘nope, your insurance doesn’t cover that.’ Yes they do, I’ve been on it almost a year now. I know they do. They were like, ‘not anymore.’”

Taylor was forced to switch to another brand of inhaler that she and her doctor agree, doesn’t work as well for her asthma. Taylor says she feels like a pawn in the game of trying to force pharmaceutical companies to lower their costs.

“A company that would wager my life on, I don’t know what kind of extra money you get at the end of the year, it just reads loud and clear: We don’t really care about you. We care about the money that we make off of you,” said Taylor.

ABC7 News checked. If Taylor wanted the medication that works best for her she’d be out of pocket as much as $433.99 a month. We asked if that’s something she could afford.

“No,” said Taylor. “That would be the cost of my car insurance, my car payment and my phone bill.”

But what Taylor and millions of others like her didn’t know is that you can comparison shop for drugs just like you would a car, a bed, or the paper towels in your kitchen.

“The crazy thing we see every day is that same drug, same exact prescription, different pharmacy, much better price,” says Shawn Ohri. Ohri works for ScriptSave, a pharmacy benefits manager, or PBM.

There are about 30 PBM’s in the U.S. and they negotiate prices on prescriptions for their members.

Ohri says insured or not, everyone should comparison shop.

“Twenty-eight million people that we know are uninsured today, You’ve got 20 million people that are on high-deductible health plans in 2016 and that number’s growing year-over-year, and then you’ve got 10 to 20 percent of the people that have great coverage, but that particular drug that they’re using isn’t covered,” says Ohri.

One way to shop around is to call every pharmacy in your area. Another is to use an app.

Ohri’s company came up with an app called “WellRx.” There are a handful of others and each is likely to find different deals for you, depending on how they negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies.

Using the WellRx app, ABC7 News compiled the most popular prescriptions in DC, Maryland and Virginia and compared prices among the top 10 pharmacy retailers.

The antibiotic amoxicillin is the No. 1 most purchased drug in Maryland. It’s three and a half times more expensive at CVS than Walmart.

The high blood pressure medicine amlodipine besylate is one of the most popular prescriptions in Virginia. It’s nearly six-times more expensive at WalMart than it is at Kmart.

And in DC, the second most prescribed drug, sildenafil, used for high blood pressure in the lungs, or as a generic form of Viagra, is more than eleven-times more expensive at Walgreens than Costco…at $195.00 versus $17.60.

“It pays to shop around, even with these types of programs,” says Ohri.

And that’s something Taylor won’t soon forget as she tries to outmaneuver the insurance and drug companies.

“I’m a person who wants to live a healthy, happy life,” said Taylor. “I don’t know why you would want to stand in the way of that. And I would hope an extra thousand dollars, or extra million should not matter more than me living, me breathing, me being here.”

Remember that depending on what app you’re using, the prices can vary – sometimes by a lot.

See the original story on the WJLA website.


Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.
If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

 

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shop around to save on medications

For those who are new to the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings program, you may not realize just how long our company has been in the business of saving patients money on their prescriptions. It’s actually well over 20 years – we date back to 1993.

As such, it’s certainly nothing new to us to encounter people ‘paying it forward’ and helping to spread the word. That said, in all that time, it had never occurred to us to open our website to guest bloggers – until now.

Shell Roush is a Saturday Soccer Mom who lives in North Carolina and author of the extremely popular “Things I Can’t Say” blogsite. To simply refer to her as a “Mommy Blogger” doesn’t quite do her justice but, as she states, “I’m a mommy and I blog.” However, as her audience of ~30,000 unique visitors every month will attest, you’ll find that she writes so much more than just posts about parenting … including the following, which she wrote about us…

“The Easiest Way to Shop Around for the Best Prices on Prescriptions”
by Shell Roush

The pharmacy assistant was typing away at her monitor when she paused and looked up at me to ask “You are aware of the cost of this medication?” with a note of apology in her voice.

I sighed and responded that unfortunately, I was and that yes, I still needed the prescription filled.

She hesitated and very quietly told me that if I needed a prescription filled and I didn’t have insurance, I’d be better off going to the pharmacy across the street because it had better prices.

Until that moment, I had no idea different pharmacies charged different amounts for the same medication. I’m not sure why it was such a surprise since everything, from milk to gas, has a price that varies from place to place.

But there are so many pharmacies that it would be extremely time-consuming to check all of them, especially since the prices aren’t clearly listed in store. It would require me to either, call and inquire about a specific medication, or even show up in store to ask.

But by using the ScriptSave® WellRx website and mobile app, I can access their fast, easy, and free price-check tool. I put in my zip code here in Jacksonville, NC and I quickly see the specific prices for all of the pharmacies near me. It’s so much more convenient than having to make all of those phone calls.

Not only does the cost of the same medication vary from one pharmacy to the next, it can vary greatly. When I pay out of pocket for one of the medications for my son, it costs around $300. The ScriptSave WellRx app shows me the discounts available near me, making the current cost anywhere from $156.92 all the way up to $274.99.

That’s such a huge difference in price of the same medication, saving me over $100 every month. I like how easy ScriptSave WellRx makes the price check. With three growing boys, I can take those savings and apply them to the rest of the things they need, like soccer dues, 5k race registrations, and computer coding classes.

Because the ScriptSave WellRx card/app is free to download, requires no credit card information to be entered, and has no membership fee, it’s definitely worth trying. Maybe you’ll get a better deal by using your insurance or without ScriptSave WellRx, but it is so quick and easy to compare prices that I always check it before I call my son’s doctor for a refill on his prescription.


For the best Rx price on
prescription medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.
Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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organizing your medications photo

For those who are new to the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings program, you may not realize just how long our company has been in the business of saving patients money on their prescriptions. It’s actually well over 20 years – we date back to 1993.

As such, it’s certainly nothing new to us to encounter people ‘paying it forward’ and helping to spread the word. That said, in all that time, it had never occurred to us to open our website to guest bloggers – until now.

After years of working 12 hour days and living on a diet of frozen pizzas, diet soda and coffee, Ellen Christian decided that she’d had enough of being sick, tired and fed-up with everything. Taking matters into her own hands, she turned the tides and now writes about healthy living for busy women while also being a loving caregiver to her disabled husband. She lives in Castleton, VT and authors the extremely popular “Confessions of an Overworked Mom” blogsite. She reaches ~25,000 unique readers every month and we’re delighted that she also uses the ScriptSave WellRx program and that she agreed to write the following blog post for us…

“Be Prepared. Planning Pharmacy Visits Can Save Time As Well As Money”
by Ellen Christian

Now is the time to get organized for cold and flu season. Since my husband is disabled, he has a reduced immune system. Staying healthy during cold and flu season is even more important to us because of this reason. An illness that I can fight off or that lasts me only a day or two can last him a week or more or turn into something more serious.

How to Get Organized for Cold and Flu Season

Living in Vermont, it seems like our cold and flu season lasts quite a while. Winter is the time of year when we get sick most frequently. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when we have snow, sleet, and bad weather. Hazardous driving conditions are just another reason why we try to get organized for cold and flu season. I don’t want to have to run to the store to get tissues or fill a prescription in the middle of a snowstorm.

Right now, I’m stocking up on tissues, orange juice, cough drops, Vitamin C, elderberry syrup and, of course, Marty’s prescriptions. Since he’s disabled, he has several prescriptions he takes each month to manage his symptoms. It can be fairly time-consuming to check the prices for each one with several drug stores. Prescription prices can change regularly so I cannot just assume I’m going to find the best price for everything all in one place.

I’ve been using an app and website called ScriptSave WellRx to save money on Marty’s prescriptions. When I searched on pharmacies in the Castleton, Vermont area, I was surprised at the options. I didn’t realize that my insurance didn’t always have the lowest price for every prescription. Did you know that you may be able to save more money by paying cash and using ScriptSave WellRx? – (Learn more about paying cash for prescriptions here).

ScriptSave WellRx gives “Medicine Chest Pricing” that lets me enter the details of several of Marty’s prescriptions at the same time. Then, I can click the “Price-check” button to see EITHER, the one single pharmacy that gives me the lowest ‘one-stop price’ OR the specific combination of pharmacies that give the lowest individual price for every single prescription.

That means I can stop at one pharmacy with the lowest overall price when I’m pressed for time. Or, I can go from store to store to get each one at the most affordable price when I want to. I can even save all of Marty’s prescriptions in one secure place so I can price-check them each month instead of re-entering them. That’s a huge time saver when you have multiple prescriptions. I just don’t have time to call all the different pharmacies in my area every month for all his prescriptions.

The card is totally free to use and you can get the app in the iTunes store or on Google Pay for free. There’s nothing lost to give it a try and see what you can save. There are no fees and it doesn’t need your credit card information. Plus, there is no way you’ll pay more for your prescription than you do right now. You’ll either get a discount or you can use your insurance like you normally would. Just have the pharmacist check the price with the card and with your insurance.

Give it a try and download it today. On average, members save around 45%, but prescription prices change all the time so it’s always worth re-checking before each refill (…and, as mentioned previously, this is made so much easier by using the ScriptSave WellRx ‘Medicine Chest’).  It’s easy to find savings and every little bit helps. Plus, it has convenient reminders that help keep you on track when you’re busy.


For the best Rx price on
prescription medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.
Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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