Media and Information
The Rising Cost of Diabetes Medications
The rising cost of diabetes medications has been a hot topic in the news lately. An equally disturbing factor in this trend is the lack of adequate insurance coverage for these very needed medications.
A recent article in US News describes ways to save money on your diabetes meds.
It can be scary to think about how much you need to rely on those medications for your health. For some patients, it’s a life-or-death scenario. “The pharmaceutical companies are working with a captive audience,” says certified diabetes educator PJ Pugh, program director of the Chronic Disease Management Program at Baylor Community Care Clinics in Dallas. “If you have Type 1 diabetes, you can’t go without insulin.”
Judy Vobroucek, the owner of Discount Med Direct, just happens to be one of the industry experts quoted in this national publication.
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Available Alzheimer’s Medications
Although current medications cannot cure Alzheimer’s or stop it from progressing, they may help lessen symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion, for a limited time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of medications-cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, Cognex) and memantinie (Namenda)- to treat the cognitive symptoms (memory loss, confusion, and problems with thinking and reasoning) of Alzheimer’s disease.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, brain cells die and connections among cells are lost, causing cognitive symptoms to worsen. While current medications cannot stop the damage Alzheimer’s causes to brain cells, they may help lessen or stabilize symptoms for a limited time by affecting certain chemicals involved in carrying messages among the brain’s nerve cells. Doctors sometimes prescribe both types of medications together. Sometimes doctors also prescribe high doses of vitamin E for cognitive changes of Alzheimer’s disease.
MEDICATIONS FOR EARLY TO MODERATE STAGES
All prescription medications currently approved to treat Alzheimer’s symptoms in early to moderate stages are from a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase inhibitors are prescribed to treat symptoms related to memory, thinking, language, judgment and other thought processes. These drugs may help delay or prevent symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time and may help control some behavioral symptoms. The medications include: Razadyne® (galantamine), Exelon® (rivastigmine), and Aricept® (donepezil). Another drug, Cognex® (tacrine), was the first approved cholinesterase inhibitor but is rarely prescribed today due to safety concerns. These medications are generally well tolerated. If side effects occur, they commonly include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.
MEDICATION FOR MODERATE TO SEVERE STAGES
A second type of medication, Namenda® (memantine) is approved by the FDA for treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. This medication is prescribed to improve memory, attention, reason, language and the ability to perform simple tasks. It may allow patients to maintain certain daily function a little longer than they would without the medication. It can be used alone or without other Alzheimer’s disease treatments. There is some evidence that individuals with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s who are taking a cholinesterase inhibitor might benefit by also taking Namenda®. Side effects of this medication include headache, constipation, confusion, and dizziness.
Aricept® (donepezil) is the only cholinesterase inhibitor approved to treat all stages of Alzheimer’s disease, including moderate to severe.
Before beginning a new medication, make sure your physician and pharmacist are aware of all medication currently being taken (including over-the-counter and alternative preparations). This is important to make certain medications will not interact with one another, causing side effects.
Currently, $450 million is spent on Alzheimer’s research. By contrast, cancer
receives roughly $6 billion and HIV-AIDS receives $3 billion in research.
The results of an experimental medication were recently released and it could mean good news for Alzheimer’s patients. The makers of Solanezumab, Eli Lilly, said it can slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease by 30%, if the disease is caught early. Solanezumab has not yet been approved by the FDA.
Discount Med Direct has access to Aricept, Nameda, Exelon, Exelon Patch, and Razadyne, in brand or generic. Call us for a free quote, 941-355-7887.
Effective Medicines Fight HIV/AIDS Infection
In the early 1980s, when the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, patients rarely lived longer than a few years. But today, people infected with HIV have longer and healthier lives. The main reason is that there are many effective medicines to fight the infection.
Combining Drugs to Help Control the Virus
There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but a variety of drugs can be used in combination to control the virus. Each of the classes of anti-HIV drugs blocks the virus in different ways. It’s best to combine at least three drugs from two different classes to avoid creating strains of HIV that are immune to single drugs. The classes of anti-HIV drugs include:
* Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). NNRTIs disable a protein needed by HIV to make copies of itself. Examples include efavirenz (Sustiva), etravirine (Intelence) and nevirapine (Viramune).
* Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). NRTIs are faulty versions of building blocks that HIV needs to make copies of itself. Examples include Abacavir (Ziagen), and the combination drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir (Truvada), and lamivudine and zidovudine (Combivir).
* Protease inhibitors (PIs). PIs disable protease, another protein that HIV needs to make copies of itself. Examples include atazanavir (Reyataz), darunavir (Prezista), fosamprenavir (Lexiva) and ritonavir (Norvir).
* Entry or fusion inhibitors. These drugs block HIV’s entry into CD4 cells. Examples include enfuvirtide (Fuzeon) and maraviroc (Selzentry).
* Integrase inhibitors. Raltegravir (Isentress) works by disabling integrase, a protein that HIV uses to insert its genetic material into CD4 cells.
While these medicines help people with HIV infection still have the virus in their bodies, so even when they are taking medicines, they can transmit HIV to others through unprotected sex and needle sharing.
Options for AIDS and HIV Medication
Researchers are continuing to develop many new types of AIDS and HIV medications. Today, HIV-positive people have many options for AIDS and HIV medication, including:
* Anti-HIV medications that treat HIV infection
* Drugs that treat side effects of the disease or HIV treatment
* Drugs that treat opportunistic infections that result from a weakened immune system
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