Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saving Money on Medications





According to a 2014 report by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 50% of Americans take at least 1 prescription.  For seniors over 65, 9 out of 10 take at least one prescription drug, with many taking 5 or more different kinds.  Among children, 1 out of 4 take at least one prescription drug.

All of these medications add up to a large cost- in 2014 people in the US filled a record 4.3 billion prescriptions totaling $374 billion according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
So it is not surprising that the cost of medications can be a problem for many people. 

Listed below are tips on how to save money if you are taking a prescription.

Work on Prevention

  • Many prescription drugs are prescribed for conditions which could be improved or prevented by getting serious about weight loss and exercise.
  • It is a sad fact that in the US our average weight continues to increase every year. 
  • Every extra pound puts more strain on the heart, joints and back as well as raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of diabetes.

Talk with Your Doctor

  • Ask about generic options, which are usually much less expensive than brands.
  • Many insurance companies have a formulary which charges less for certain brands. Ask your doctor for 3 brand choices and check on the cost- then let your doctor know which is lowest for you.
  • Tell your doctor if you can’t afford your medication.  There may be a lower cost replacement or samples available.
  • Ask for a review of your medications every year to see if any can be taken away or decreased.

Ask your Pharmacist

  • Ask if getting a higher dose pill and splitting it would be cost effective. Don’t split pills unless you have asked if that particular pill can be split and still work.
  • See if your pharmacy reviews Part D Medicare Plans every year to help you choose the one which will pay the most for your medications
  • Ask about Patient Assistant Programs for brand-name drugs.
  • Look into the Extra Help program for those on Medicare who meet certain income guidelines.  This program pays about $4,000 yearly if you qualify.

Your hometown Topeka Pharmacy may be your best friend when it comes to beating the high cost of prescription drugs.  We offer free personalized Part D review, we can review all of your medications and their interactions, and can help you find the patient assistant resources you need. Come visit us today!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Best Diets for 2015



What do you think the best diet was for the past year? Weight Watchers? Paleo? South Beach?  US News and World Report each year asks a panel of health experts to rank popular diets.

For 6 years in a row, the winner is… the DASH Diet!

The Mediterranean Diet and the MIND Diet followed close behind.  The MIND Diet is actually a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH so it would seem that these 3 diets really do represent a healthy way of eating!

So what do the healthiest diets have in common and what simple steps can you take to eat healthier?

THE HEALTHIEST DIETS ALWAYS INCLUDE 5-8 SERVINGS OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

  1.  Make a habit of eating a whole fruit for a snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
  2. Make a habit of eating a whole fruit with breakfast.
  3. Make a habit of always adding a large serving of vegetables to your supper.
  4. Make a habit of eating a salad, spinach or kale almost every day.

THE HEALTHIEST DIETS ENCOURAGE ALMOST-EVERY-DAY INTAKE OF BEANS AND NUTS

  1. Find good bean-based recipes (ham & beans, baked beans, beans & cornbread, black bean salsa, refried beans, chili with beans), and plan to serve once or twice weekly. Eat as leftovers for 2 or 3 lunches that week.
  2. Make a habit of enjoying a small handful of almonds, walnuts or other nuts every evening.

THE HEALTHIEST DIETS LIMIT SUGAR AND JUNK FOODS

  1. Know your own likes and cravings and pick one or two foods to allow but avoid all the other chips, candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, fried meats, fries, pop, doughnuts, pie, etc.
  2. When you do allow these foods for a treat, allow a small portion and enjoy every bite!  Look for the smallest amount you can be satisfied with and stop there.

THE HEALTHIEST DIETS LIMIT HIGH FAT MEATS AND FRIED FOODS

  1. Most people who like meat like lots of different kinds.  So if you can fix or order the lower fat beef (round or loin cuts), pork loin chops, grilled chicken breast or pan-fried fish rather than the fried chicken, deep-fried fish, sausage, and pizza, you will help your health.  You will find that you still can enjoy your meal and will feel better about yourself!
  2. Limit portions of meat to 3 or 4 ounces to avoid excess calories.
  3. Try to include fish twice weekly- but not the deep-fat fried kind!  Tuna for lunch and sautéed salmon for supper are 2 good ideas.

THE HEALTHIEST DIETS ADD 3 SERVINGS OF WHOLE GRAINS DAILY

  1. Read labels, especially of your cereal and bread.  The first ingredient should be “whole wheat” or “whole oats” or other whole grain. 
  2. Also look at the Dietary Fiber amount.  It should be at least 2 gm per serving. The more the better!

THE HEALTHIEST DIETS INCLUDE HEALTHY FATS

  1. The best research continues to show that saturated fat is unhealthy.  So an easy thing to do is read labels of the fats and oils you have around the house.  Compare the saturated fat of butter (7gm/Tbsp) to margarine (varied amounts) to olive oil (2 gm/Tbsp) or canola oil (1 gm/Tbsp).  Most oils will have small amounts and olive oil for instance has been proven to be heart-healthy, so don’t cut out all saturated fat, just try to avoid the highest levels.
  2. Trans fat is really bad and to be avoided.  Read labels to see if there is any “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients and avoid these foods. 

Continue to work at these steps and you will gradually change your eating to reflect a healthier you. Topeka Pharmacy is here to answer your questions about diet, weight loss and diabetes.  We are glad to help!