Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cost Splitting

Every month, I get a prescription for Lexapro; one of the higher-priced SSRI antidepressants.  My doctor prescribes 20 mg tablets, and I'm to take 1/2 a tablet daily.  Puzzling, right?  Why not one whole 10 mg tablet once daily?

Well, here's the thing.  A 30-count bottle of 10 mg Lexapro retails for roughly $125.  A 30-count bottle of 20 mg Lexapro is the same price, but lasts 60 days instead of 30.  So, obviously the larger dose prescribed at 1/2 the strength makes more sense, right?

Sure, if you're thinking from a financial standpoint only.  It is impossible for the manufacturer to distribute the medication equally between two halves of a tablet.  So, cutting a pill in half means your dose will be unstable.  In a medication like Lexapro, that means I will receive inconsistent relief from my symptoms of anxiety and depression.  In a medication that helps regulate your heart rate or blood pressure, it could be much more serious.

I've tried several types of cutters with very little success.  They either crumble the pill, or cut them in uneven pieces.  The best option I've found so far is a plain razorblade - I set it exactly on the cutting line and rock the blade back and forth while exerting more and more pressure until it breaks through.  It still creates powdery residue, and there's still the potential for uneven sizes.  I just cut this month's supply, and several came out with broken pieces.  It's very frustrating.

I'm going to request that my doctor prescribe the 10 mg tablets from now on and deal with the cost.  Inconsistent doses and frustration over cutting the pills isn't worth the money saved, IMHO.

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