A Dose of Knowledge About Medicine Safety This Cold and Flu Season

MedicinesRisksCCold and flu season is upon us. Americans catch approximately 1 billion colds per year, and as many as 20 percent get the flu. Seven in 10 people will reach for an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine to treat their coughs, stuffy noses and sniffles, and many of these medicines contain acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in America, found in more than 600 prescription (Rx) and OTC medicines, including pain relievers, fever reducers and a number of cough, cold and flu medicines. While safe and effective when used as directed, taking more than the maximum daily dose of 4,000 milligrams is considered an overdose and can lead to liver damage.

NACo Prescription Discount Card: Easy, Valuable and Free

Evelyn Webster of Brazos County, Texas, was devastated when she learned that her sister had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. As a result of the radiation and chemotherapy treatments, her big sister, Deborah Bryant, was unable to work and lost her health insurance.

“So therein lies the problem: no insurance, no medication, no money to buy the medication,” Webster told CBS affiliate KBTX-TV in Bryan/College Station, Texas.

The family learned of a free prescription discount card\ available through Brazos County, where Webster works in the District Clerk’s office.

7th Heaven Mom Advocates Prescription Drug Safety

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – If used moderately and as directed, prescription medicines help ease many health conditions and cure others. But some people don’t know the risks of keeping medications unsecured in the home, especially medications that have a high potential to be abused, such as stimulants, tranquilizers and pain relievers.
Easy-to-find medicines can be abused by anyone entering a home, especially teens and young adults. Catherine Hicks, 7th Heaven star and parent advocate, is working with Safeguard My Meds to teach Americans what they can do to help prevent prescription medicine abuse and potential addiction.
Government statistics show that 70 percent of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.
“As the parent of a teenager, I know how important this issue is. Every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medicine for the first time, and they don’t even need to leave the house to do it,” says Hicks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 20 percent of teens have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s order. Hicks says certain simple steps can make a huge difference:
* Keep medication in a locked container out of reach of visitors, children and pets;
* Keep a list of medicines at home;
* Never share prescription drugs with anyone or mix them;
* Talk to your local pharmacists about the best way to store and get rid of old medicines;
* Tell friends and family to keep their medications secure.
“When we keep prescription medicine in our homes, we need to keep those medicines safe,” says Keith Hodges, pharmacist and executive committee member of the National Community Pharmacists Association. “We can all make a difference by storing and disposing of our medicine in the right way.”
Safeguard My Meds is a free resource offered by the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma L.P. Vis- it www.safeguardmymeds.org.

Medicare’s Extra Help Program Lowers Price of Medications

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Making ends meet should not mean going without your medications. If you have limited income and resources, Medicare’s “Extra Help” program sets it up so this year you pay no more than $2.50 for each generic drug and $6.30 for each brand-name drug.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that more than 2 million people with Medicare may be eligible for the subsidy but are not currently enrolled to take advantage of these savings.
A recent law changed how income and assets are counted. Life insurance policies do not count as resources. Any help you get from relatives, friends and others to pay for household expenses — like food, mortgage, rent, heating fuel or gas, electricity, water and property taxes — does not count as income.
After these changes in 2010, many people qualify for the program and don’t know it. Even if you were previously turned down for “Extra Help” due to income or resource levels, you should reapply. You could get help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums, copayments and deductibles. To qualify, you must make less than $16,335 a year (or $22,065 for married couples). Even if your annual income is higher, you still may be able to get some extra help. Your resources must also be limited to $12,640 (or $25,260 for married couples). Resources include bank accounts, stocks and bonds.
There’s no cost or obligation to apply — it’s easy and free. Apply at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or call at 1-800-772-1213. Medicare beneficiaries can also receive assistance in their local communities from their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) and many tribal organizations.
For information about how to contact these organizations, go to www.eldercare.gov. To learn more about prescription drug coverage, go to www.medicare.gov, or call 1-800-633-4227. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. This information was prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Sharing the News About Medicare’s Preventive Services

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Did you know that as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare now covers a yearly wellness visit and many preventive screenings and services? Preventive services like these can find health problems early, when treatment works best. These services can also help keep you from getting certain diseases or illnesses.

"7th Heaven" Star Says Steps Can Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

(NewsUSA) – When used the right way, prescription medicine helps many health conditions. But many people don’t know the risks of keeping medications unsecured in the home, especially medications that have a high potential to be abused, such as stimulants, tranquilizers and pain relievers.Left-over and easy-to-find medicines can be abused by anyone entering a home — including teens and young adults. 7th Heaven star and parent advocate Catherine Hicks is working with the national campaign Safeguard My Meds to tell Americans how they can help prevent prescription medicine abuse by keeping medications safe in their home.Government statistics show that 70 percent of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative."As the parent of a teenager, I know how important this issue is. Every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medicine for the first time, and they don’t even need to leave the house to do it," says Hicks.A new national survey shows that Americans most frequently said they store prescription medicine in the bathroom and kitchen — two areas where medications could be easily found by anyone entering the home.Hicks says taking these simple steps can make a big difference:* Keep medication in a locked storage container in a cool, dry place out of the reach of visitors, children and pets;* Keep a list of medicines in your home;* Never share prescription medicine with anyone else;* Talk to your community pharmacists about the best way to store and get rid of medicine no longer needed;* Visit the site www.safeguardmymeds.org for more tips and tools to make your home medication safe; and* Tell friends and family to keep their medications safe."When we keep prescription medicine in our homes, we need to keep those medicines safe, said Keith Hodges, pharmacist and executive committee member of the National Community Pharmacists Association. "We can all make a difference by storing and disposing of our medicine in the right way."Safeguard My Meds is a free resource offered by the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma L.P. Visit www.safeguardmymeds.org.

Tips for Living Easier in Your 70s

You love your home and don’t want to leave it, but your children are concerned and keep mentioning assisted living. So, how can you maintain your independence while assuring your kids that you’re fine on your own?

Many people are capable of living on their own in their seventies and beyond – with a few small adjustments to their lifestyles and living areas. Here are some suggestions:

NACo Prescription Discount Card: Easy, Valuable and Free

Five   words or less(NewsUSA) – When Samantha White’s health insurance premiums became too high, she, like many Americans in these tough times, sacrificed her health coverage. …

Tips to Save Money on Prescriptions

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many Americans rely on prescription drugs to maintain their health and well-being. But costly medications can drain wallets, especially in a weak economy, leading some patients to risk cutting back on prescriptions or skipping dosages.

“Many consumers are having prescriptions written but are not having them filled,” says Mark Brueckl, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy’s assistant director of pharmacy affairs.

But finding affordable prescriptions isn’t impossible. Switching to generic medications can save money without compromising health — generics must pass rigorous testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to demonstrate they are as safe and effective as their branded counterpart.

Roughly 80 top-selling brand drugs are losing patent protection between 2009 and 2012, meaning generic versions will soon become available. According to the Congressional Budget Office, generic drugs save consumers an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion annually at retail pharmacies.

If a generic version of your brand drug does not exist, consider asking your doctor if another generic product is available in the same therapeutic category. Over-the-counter versions of medications might be available. Some pharmaceutical manufacturer programs also offer patient assistant programs with discount rate cards, trial cards or samples.

Others options for saving money include:

* Filling prescriptions through mail-order programs and ordering multiple months’ worth of prescriptions, thus saving copayments and shipping costs. These options are often available through pharmacy benefit managers.

* Splitting tablets in half. Some prescription drugs cost the same per tablet, regardless of the dosage. See if your doctor can write a prescription for double your dosage — for example, 80 milligrams instead of 40 milligrams — then split the tablets in half. Never halve drugs with special coatings or slow-release formulas.

* See if you’re eligible for Medicare. If so, you qualify for Medicare prescription drug coverage regardless of income or health status. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov and click on the “Medicare” tab.

For more information, visit www.amcp.org.

Web Site Helps Patients Find Affordable Prescriptions

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans have gotten used to comparison shopping online. No longer checking flyers or driving between stores, today’s comparison shoppers frequent Web sites that do the legwork.

For example, vacationers consult sites like Travelocity and Orbitz to find the best deals on flights, vehicle rentals and vacation packages. Students use Bookfinder.com to find retailers offering better deals on text books.

It’s not surprising, then, that a new Web site now allows users to compare prices on prescription drugs. The Web site, BidRx.com, shows users what pharmacies around the United States charge for the same prescription. Patients can then use that information when choosing a local pharmacy. Even better, users can mail-order prescriptions from anywhere in the United States, and BidRx notes when pharmacies offer free shipping.

“There are significant savings to be made in the procurement of prescription drugs,” said Tom Kellenberger, vice president of BidRx, LLC. “We think open competition is the best way to bring down costs and raise service levels.”

With money tight, many Americans stand to benefit from saving even a few dollars on their prescriptions. Using BidRx can help most Americans, including seniors on limited incomes, to cut their prescription costs. The site also tells users about similar drug options that fulfill the same function as their current medications, but at a lower price.

“My mother’s on a fixed income,” says Jane Keller of Alexandria, Va. “I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I could save over $10 on the price of one prescription.”

The Web site aids small pharmacies, too — an independent business in a small town could potentially reach millions of customers located throughout the United States, should their prices prove competitive.

BidRx.com wants to create an open and more competitive market for prescription medications. Users can self-register at www.BidRx.com, insert referral code M4E013 and let BidRx.com do the legwork.