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Guest Jenn

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Guest Jenn

Has anything like this happened to anyone else?

First of all I've been on Lamictal for several months to treat biPolar. I went almost 10 years misdiagnosed (or should I say half-diagnosed) with depression.

I was diagnosed bipolar in August and I have had an unbelievable amount of trouble with getting my medication.

2 months in my insurance company made me switch to generic and I had a HORRIBLE reaction to it. My doctor filed a PA and that problem was solved.

The next Two months the pharmacy (CVS) gave me generic b/c they were too stupid to read the RX. The first time I got all the way home with it - the second time I caught it before I left the store.

The month after that they told me they were not keeping it in stock anymore. I switched pharmacies and everything was fine for a month.

so 12/30 my doctor writes me a Rx and I get to the pharmacy (Walgreens) and 1st they tell me they can't fill it until Jan 2nd. I was like. "that's not right, I'm out of the medicine"

so after that problem magically disappeared they won't give the name brand because my doctor has carelessly checked the box indicating there can be a product selection. After explaining to the pharmacist I have a letter on file with the insurance company I had to wait over 2 hours for her to tell me she wouldn't give me my medicine without a new Rx. (she tells me this 10 minutes after my Dr's office closed)

So I spent hours on the phone with the insurance company to no avail - they to said I'd have to have a new Rx. So the next morning(new year's eve) I am up at the crack of dawn waiting on 8am so I can call my Doctor's office.

I call at 8:01, 8:15, 8:45, 9:00. I left messages on their answering machine but finally assumed they were closed and started calling the emergency # because at this point I am completely out of medicine . . .I left 3 messages with the emergency answering service . . . the fourth time I called I sort of flipped out on them a teeny bit and demanded to know why no one was calling me back . . .and I also told them to tell the dr whatever the hell they had to to get him to call me - that this was seriousl and I could end up in the ER. It was 12:13 when the answering service let it slip that the doctors office had been open until 11:30am, but the office girls weren't taking messages about Rxs. OMFG!!!

Basically I was faced with going off 300mg/day of Lamictal cold turkey. I triend a myriad of other options . . from getting my primary care dr to rewrite the rx (he refused), to begging the insurance company to override their procedure (they wouldn't), to trying to buy a partial of the name brand to get me through (walgreens wouldn't sell it to me - even as self pay . . .which I could not believe). I couldn't afford the almost $400 for the full Rx . . .

I started digging desperately through my medicine drawer and found 5 150mg pills and 2 200 mg pills - I've alternated those for the last few days to get me through at 200mg oone day and 300mg(2 150s) the next.

Even with the 100mg difference I had extreme headaches and several panic attacks as well as plunging into a deep depression, uncontrollable crying jags, rapid cycling. Long story short I'm supplementing with seroquel and clonazopam and am getting through.

I am planning to be at my doctor's office when they open in the morning, and I'm not sure how to handle the situation. On the one hand I am okay, because luckily I had a few backup pills stashed. On the other hand I'm mad as hell at them because this could have been a MAJOR problem. And wtf is the point of an emergency line you don't answer?

At the basic level it's the doctor's fault for writing the Rx incorrectly - but then all the safety nets failed as well . . .

How would you handle this?

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How would you handle this?

Well, what you don't want to do is be seriously pissy with the office staff. That gets you nowhere I have learned.;)

Unfortunately most of us get involved in a clusterfuck such as you've described at least once and often more than once. It's sooooooo frustrating. Obviously you have learned a hard lesson in checking your scripts before you leave the office. You should be able to get them to call it in for you. It's not a controlled substance. If I were you, I would call the office now and follow the prompts (if they have their phones set up like this) to the voicemail box of the nursing staff. That way you're in the queue when they get there. Hopefully.

I've never taken lamictal but I understand it's one of those drugs where there is a big difference in the brand and generics.

Good luck!

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Has anything like this happened to anyone else?

Not quite as bad, but seriously screwed up? Sure.

It doesn't help that the insurance companies know that is you really need the medication they can wait you out. Combine phone line hours timed to match normal work hours, a job, a kangaroo court appeal process, excess paperwork to report the liars on the phone lines, and a mental illness, and they're assured you have no resources to report them when they screw you over.

At the basic level it's the doctor's fault for writing the Rx incorrectly - but then all the safety nets failed as well . . .

I've learned to double-check the script before walking out. Pharmacies don't have much leeway to work with on Sched. II meds.

How would you handle this?

Camp out at the doctor's office and if you still can't get a working prescription (written right or get a different medication with a working generic) - new doctor time.

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It sucks that you have to check behind EVERYONE . . . pharmacists and doctors included . . . but you do - I mean heaven forbid they do their job correctly. Everyone makes mistakes, but I hear about this kind of thing all the time - especially with the pharmacies. It just adds to the feeling that no one cares and you're on your own.

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I'm having a serious cluster-you-know-what with my doctors right now over topamax. It's a mental med (even though I take it for migraine prevention), so my pdoc has always written the script for me. For three frigging YEARS. Now I get a new pdoc, and topamax goes generic. Suddenly I am getting migraines again. So I ask pdoc to script an increase. She refuses, saying my GP has to write it since I'm not using it for mental purposes. But I now have a new GP (gotta love HMOs). She won't write the script cause it's a mental med. She refers me to a neurologist. Which I get to go see this week. I've been getting weekly migraines for more than two months because two doctors didn't feel comfortable writing a new script.

It sucks to be stuck in the middle of a health care "situation".

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Has anything like this happened to anyone else?

Multiply by three "patients" (me, ds & dd). Yes. Every other month or so, in 2009, every damned month with all sorts of varietal clusterfuckage. :)

How would you handle this?

Federal Universal Single Payer Healthcare. Fuck the House & Senate's "reform" bullshit scam on our dime (private insurance bailout/giveaway). :)

Jeebus, just try to keep your head down and to the grindstone. About all you can do.... and try not to blow a gasket, no matter how justified it might be. In a screwy system like ours, any emotion displayed only triggers multiple dimensions of additional ass-rapings. It's like that. ;)

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i hate to say it but depending on brand name meds like this will just lead to one headache after another. anytime theres a change (pharmacy, doctor, insurance0 you will run into problems.

sometimes one generic will perform better than another. I've specifically heard this abt generic lamictal. Also as I understand it the big variation with generics vs brand name is in the strength of the dosage so you might be able to get by on generic with a lower or, more likely, higher dose.

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Yep, it sucks. And for the myriad layers of people involved in the delivery of health care (mental or otherwise) SNAFU will remain in play. Especially so when dealing with a chronic condition. People who start with generics usually do fine. It's a different matter when one has started with brand and then gets switched.

Ultimately, you don't have to be vigilant about every detail of your care. But it is wise to read every script before you leave the doc's office. And any time you change docs press them hard for Dispense as Written scripts. A little bit of extra work on your part, but an essential set of activities in good management of a chronic condition.

And to Gizmo: Your Topamax quandry also sucks. I see this A LOT. It's good that you can get the neuro referral, but there will come a point in time where that doc will likely discharge ongoing care of your migraines to your primary care provider. Try to establish some sense of the time frame for this and make certain your primary doc is on board.

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gizmo:

Since Topamax is, as it turns out, officially indicated (on-label) for migraine and specific types of epilepsy, and since it ISN'T on-label for anything psychiatric at this time... and since GP and psychiatry can certainly treat migraine... I have no damn idea what their problem is.

Sometimes going through the PI sheet with a quizzical look can be more hurtful than helpful, of course, in this type of situation, but, still. Sheesh.

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