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Re: Ave. $Cost$ of treating depression

Posted by JohnL on October 31, 1999, at 2:25:20

In reply to Ave. $Cost$ of treating depression, posted by Diane on October 30, 1999, at 20:09:18

Hi Diane. Both my local town family clinic and my counselor have the Beck's test on-hand. From what I've seen it is the most common. Even if you have to fill it out on a visit it only takes about 3 minutes. Answer some simple multiple choice questions. There is a similar test at the site Depression Central. I took that test and brought it in to my pdoc to highhlight for him my most troublesome symptoms. The test helps identify which symptoms are worse than others and can have some influence on drug choice.

My general practitioner charges $50/visit. Usually 20 minutes or so. My pdoc charges $75. Usually half hour. A former pdoc charged $80 for 15 minutes. Ouch! Many will adjust fees on a sliding scale basis according to your income. But you have to ask. They usually won't volunteer that option. My pdoc routinely gives me a prescrip renewable three times. So if I'm tolerating it, I can stay with it for months before another visit. Even then if all is well I can get it renewed with a simple phone call. I usually visit more often when contemplating a switch or an augmentation. I tend to spend a lot of money on frequent visits when I'm having problems with a med.

Generic drugs, like a lot of the tricyclics, are cheap. Most of the others can cost $100 to $200 or more per month. Some are really expensive. Like Buspar. Or Lamictal. Some are dirt cheap. Like Lithium. I think finding a med that fits your side effect profile is the most important thing. That will save cost all the way around in the long run. Poor tolerance will lead to money spent on unused prescrips filling up your med cabinet And frequent visits involving frustration and switching. There are a lot of variables. Treating depression can be fairly cheap or incredibly expensive, depending on all the variables. No easy answer.

One tip though, larger dose pills are usually just slightly more expensive than smaller doses. Sometimes no difference at all. You can save money, and your insurance company will love you, if you get the larger dose and break it in half. For example, I use 7.5mg Remeron for sleep. I got 30 day supply of 30mg pills. I split them in half, then split each half in half with a knife. So for the cost of 30 day prescription I actually have 120 day supply. My local pharmacy has Lamictal at $1.94 for 25mg. 100mg is also $1.94. So why not buy the 100s and break em in four? A caution, can't do it wih Wellbutrin. The inside becomes toxic when exposed to air. For capsules, you can empty contents into juice or water and dose it half glass a day or whatever. That's a common strategy with customizing Prozac doses.




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