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Your Questions

Jesse Answers Your Questions
 
Sometimes we’re asked questions that are worth repeating responses to. 
If you have a question for Jesse, contact us. 
 
Questions:

Should I be worried about taking Lipitor?

My doctor wants me to take an aspirin every day.  Should I take regular aspirin or baby aspirin?

Why does my insurance company charge different copay amounts for different prescriptions?

My company changed our insurance.  They sent me a brochure and your drugstore isn’t listed.  What does that mean?

I am supposed to check my blood pressure regularly.  The blood pressure readings look high.  When should I worry?

My doctor wants my cholesterol to be below 200.  Why?

Why do generic drugs cost so much less?  Are they the same as the brand name drugs?

Can I save money and get my Synthroid and Coumadin filled generically?


Answers:

Should I be worried about taking Lipitor?
People who have liver problems and women who are pregnant or nursing should not take Lipitor.  You should only worry about taking Lipitor if there are certain signs that your body gives you indicating that Lipitor may not be right for you.  These signs mostly center on muscle soreness.  This could indicate a serious side effect.  For most people, Lipitor (and the other drugs like it such as Mevacor, Lescol, Pravachol, Zocor and Crestor) is a very safe medication.  In fact, studies have shown that taking Lipitor may greatly reduce your risk of a heart attack or chest pain. TOP OF PAGE
 
My doctor wants me to take an aspirin every day.  Should I take regular aspirin or baby aspirin?
If you doctor suggests that you take an aspirin every day, there will be a definite choice to make between 81 mg and the regular strength, 325mg aspirin.  This decision should be arrived at with direct input from your doctor and will depend on whether you are taking it to prevent heart attack or stroke along with other factors.  TOP OF PAGE
 
Why does my insurance company charge different copay amounts for different prescriptions?
Insurance companies will charge different copay amounts based on the kind of medicine that is being dispensed.  Some companies have their own formulary.  A formulary is a list of that particular insurance company’s preferred medications.  Many insurance companies even have three different levels of copays depending on which drug from their formulary you are taking.  The lowest, or least expensive, copay is usually for generic drugs.  The second level, or the medium priced copay is for brand name drugs that usually do not have an equivalent generic available.  The most expensive copay, is for drugs that your insurance company would like to discourage you from taking – usually due to their expense.  TOP OF PAGE
 
My company changed our insurance.  They sent me a brochure and your drugstore isn’t listed.  What does that mean?
If Pike’s Pharmacy is not listed on your insurance company’s brochure, don’t worry.  It is too expensive and time consuming for most insurance companies to list every drugstore that accepts their insurance plan.  While they usually list all of the larger chains that they work with, they often omit independent pharmacies from their brochures.  Be assured that Pike’s Pharmacy has contracts with almost every single insurance plan, meaning that you will pay the same copayment here as you would if you went to the big chains. TOP OF PAGE
 
I am supposed to check my blood pressure regularly.  The blood pressure readings look high.  When should I worry?
Your blood pressure should not be higher than 140/90. There may be a few reasons why the reading is high.  First, consider the equipment that you are using to check your blood pressure.  Automatic blood pressure cuffs are notorious for giving bad readings.  Sometimes this can be corrected by calibrating the machine.  If in doubt, come down to the pharmacy and we’ll check your blood pressure for you.  If you blood pressure reading is still high, we’ll work together with you doctor to make a change in your medication that will better control it.  Anytime your blood pressure reading is over 190/100 you should call your doctor and report the reading as soon as possible. TOP OF PAGE
 
My doctor wants my cholesterol to be below 200.  Why?
New information is coming out that is very clear.  The lower your cholesterol (particularly your LDL), the lower your risk of heart problems, including stroke.  If you have other risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, cigarette smoking, or a previous heart attack, it is even more important for you that you your cholesterol be controlled.  If you doctor has a cholesterol goal in mind for you, work with them conscientiously to try to achieve that goal.  TOP OF PAGE
 
Why do generic drugs cost so much less?  Are they the same as the brand name drugs?
It’s hard to believe that generic drugs cost no more than they do.  Nearly 100% of the time, generic drugs are the best value we have to offer.  They cost so much less because the company that made the drug did not have to invest in the research and advertising to create the drug; the company that created the brand name already did that work for them.  The FDA has rules that say that for a generic drug to be “the same as” the brand drug, it must work the same way in the body.  TOP OF PAGE
 
Can I save money and get my Synthroid and Coumadin filled generically?
Yes you can, but in this instance I don’t advise it.  Synthroid and Coumadin are both drugs that we call narrow therapeutic index drugs.  What that means is that they must be monitored very carefully so that the amount of drug in your blood is kept very constant.  Even very small changes in these drugs can cause big changes in your body.  Changing the drug you take from brand to generic in this case can cause big changes, too.  This will probably cause the doctor to have to readjust your medicine and switch you to a different strength.  TOP OF PAGE

 

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