Have you ever had to go a day or more with out your prescription medication?
Do you know the physical discomfort and anxiousness of waiting to find the medication reordered?
Have you spent hrs on the phone with the doctor’s office, insurance company or pharmacy waiting for your ADHD medications to be filled?
If you do, you, like me, have been trapped within the medication maze.
For years I have took in as clients told me about their issues to be diagnosed, only to have their hopes dashed when they find themselves trapped within the ADHD medication maze. What is the ADHD medication maze? It is that twisted cycle of trying to get ADHD medicines refilled. Prescriptions not relayed in order to local pharmacies or faxes getting lost to online medication sending systems. Suspicious looks from pharmacists when picking up medications. Refusals by insurance companies to pay for prescribed medications. The countless dead ends, backtracking, twists plus turns of getting a written prescription through the process and have it loaded. The ADHD medication maze is a frustrating web where so many people with ADHD find themselves stuck not knowing which way to turn and unfortunately numerous give up and never get a chance to experience the possible benefits of ADHD medications.
In theory, filling medication prescriptions is supposed to be easy work. In reality, it seldom goes smoothly. Let me tell you about my own recent experience with trying to get my medications filled. I know many of you will relate.
I called to make an appointment plus a month later got in to discover my doctor who, after a 25-minute wait and a 10-minute appointment, recommended me my medications. As I left the clinic, I was told a 14-day short-term prescription would be called to my local pharmacy and an email/fax would be sent to Express Scripts, my mail-order pharmacy. Okey dokey.
Not so bad. Except (you saw this coming, didn’t you? ) a plan is only as good as its performance.
The following day my local pharmacy auto responder called (nice function by the way) to let me know our short-term interim medications were ready to be picked up. I was pleasantly treated and somewhat surprised it had been that will uncomplicated. Easy peazy, I thought. I am going to pick them up on my way to the airport and just to be sure, allow 15 minutes extra.
You see where this is going, right?
I arrived at the pharmacy with plenty of time, trying to have trust and confidence in the system… in fact they had confirmed my prescription had been ready for pick up, right? I waited patiently in line for the two people just before me to pick up their prescriptions and also have a pharmacy consult… do dee do… no worries, plenty of time.
My turn. I stepped up, gave the pharmacist my name and they overturn to reach for my prescription. The particular pharmacist placed two bags within the counter, rang me up… the cost was under $10 dollars… Yay! Woo Hoo… happy dancing. I even scolded myself intended for doubting all would work out.
Wait a minute. I had three medications. “Uh hello Mr. Pharmacy Guy, I’m supposed to have three medications filled today… there are only two. ”
At this point I was still hopeful… wanting to trust in this “fill the pill system” and then I heard those fated words… “The doctor reordered three medications, but the XYZase is not covered by your insurance till the first of next month. ”
Wait exactly what?
And then, in a nanosecond, my tummy dropped, my pulse quickened and I began to see red. I was frustrated by the whole system.
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Frustrated because I actually trusted everyone to do their job. Angry with the realization that many people get stuck in this medication maze with little support or chart to find their way out…
Side notice: I’ll admit it… I have a genuine problem with the way medications are furnished in this country. It’s a crazy system, full of twists and turns we are expected to navigate in order to get prescriptions filled. It’s complicated by monetarily motivated insurance companies who decide what health care I receive and what I have a tendency. Last time I checked, insurance firms do not have a medical license; they don’t have the training to decide whether We continue on a medication or not. My doctor with the advanced M. G. degree should be the one to decide clinically what is in the best interest of my health.
So where was I… oh yes, standing at the pick-up counter at the pharmacy…
Mustering my courage and trying very hard never to be rude, I told the particular pharmacist that “the insurance company failed to get to decide my medical care, our doctor did and I would buy that prescription out of my own wallet if needed… thank you. ” After that, I was asked to step out from the line and told my prescription would be filled as soon as possible.
So I waited… I don’t mind waiting… after all I had allowed an extra 15 minutes in case. So I waited while the pharmacist filled other prescriptions, answered three phone calls… and a half hour later and eight people less in line, the pharmacy assistant grabbed the coveted white-colored bag, looked at me and mentioned “it’s ready. ”
Not trusting myself to say a word, fuming with the needless half hour wait around, the senselessness of our insurance companies dictating our medical care and the realization of so many other people going through similar experiences… I paid the $25 to get my medication and left.
Fourteen days later, my interim medication containers were almost empty, but the Express script online mail medications were scheduled to arrive. (Insert chuckle track. )
Yep… you guessed it… no white plastic handbag with jingling pill bottles experienced yet graced my mailbox. I had been a day away from my medications running out a second time that 30 days.
Curses… here we go once again! Who knew what had happened this time? So once again I was for the phone calling my mail-order pharmacy to see if they had received the particular refill order from my doc… nope they hadn’t received it. I called the doctor’s office again… “oops”… they had emailed my nearby pharmacy the short-term refill (we all know how that went), but “sorry” the email/fax with the doctor prescribed to my mail-order pharmacy hadn’t already been sent. Do I need them to do it?
People! Work with me here! I am just doing all I can… I need you to follow through. Who in their right thoughts would ever go through this craziness over and over again if their medication wasn’t required?
The fact is I know so many of you decide to go through this confusing, exhausting medication maze… month after month, every single year. You bravely and boldly step into the process where you almost need a medical degree yourself to get prescriptions filled up. It is ineffective, inefficient, and, unfortunately, it is what we are left to do business with.
We cannot escape it… if you have found yourself in the medication maze, here are some tools to sustain a person when you find yourself in this labyrinth:
Remember — you and your doctor get to decide your own medical treatment.
Your insurance company refusing to fund a medication doesn’t mean you may not pay for it out of your own pocket. I realize some medications are costly, however , you might be surprised at how affordable some really are. Always ask.
Generally double and triple check to ensure emails/faxes/phone calls have been made/sent plus received so the delivery of your medications goes as smoothly as possible. Particularly call the pharmacy and your medication-mailing service to confirm they received the particular prescription orders… if not, call your doctor’s office to make sure they were sent. Don’t assume.
Keep the doctor’s office, pharmacy and mail delivery systems numbers where they can be easily found.
Don’t give up. Remember the benefits of your own medication far outweigh the disappointment to get them.
The confusing, exhausting medication maze is an all too typical problem those with ADHD face. I realize your frustrations and admire your own courage to go forth despite the insanity of it all! I’ll bet you might have some “medication maze” stories of your… I’d love to hear them!