June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. A vital part of awareness is knowing that migraines are much more than just a bad headache. Migraine is a neurological disease with incapacitating neurological symptoms that affects over 39 million men, women, and children in the United States. Most people who experience migraines get them once or twice a month, but more than 4 million are affected by daily chronic migraine with at least 15 days of debilitating symptoms every month.

Everyone has headaches, but not everyone has migraines. Migraine involves nerve pathways, brain chemicals, and often runs in families but also has environmental factors. There are four stages of migraine: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. It is possible to cycle through all the phases in an episode, or only experience one, two, or three of them. Each attack can vary from the ones before it.

The prodrome is also known as “preheadache”

Read more

NeedyMeds’ mission has always been to help patients find help covering the costs of health care expenses. A previous guest post from Consumer Reports outlined the problem patients may face when confronted with expensive prescriptions, sometimes having to choose between needed medicine and groceries for their family.  Two recent studies show that the problem may be growing as out-of-pocket costs for health care are continuing to rise.

According to a study from TransUnion Healthcare, the consumer’s share of healthcare costs rose by 13% from 2014 to 2015. The report also shows that while costs rose, patients had fewer resources to pay for the increase expenses, as the amount of revolving credit had declined.  Out-of-pocket costs include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

The University of Michigan conducted a second study that calculated the average out-of-pocket expenses for an inpatient hospital stay for a patient with private insurance was more than $1000, increasing 37% from 2009 to 2013. 

Read more

September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, also known as Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month.  Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that is fairly common, with an estimated 52,380 new cases in 2014. From the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website: “Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed. The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control.” There are multiple types of Leukemia, some more common than others.

Lymphoma is similar to Leukemia in that it is a common type of blood cancer. More from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. The two main types are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In 2014, about 761,659 people are living with lymphoma or are in remission (no sign of the disease). This number includes about 177,526 people with Hodgkin lymphoma and 584,133 people with NHL.” Hodgkin lymphoma is defined by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, named after the scientists who discovered

Read more

More and more Americans struggle everyday with the rising cost of medications.  This can lead to families making difficult decisions, often forgoing needed meds in order to cover the cost of food, housing, or transportation.  However, there is help available.  Many pharmaceutical companies, along with some pharmacies and non-profit groups, manage Patient Assistance Programs (or PAPs) that offer the medication at reduced or no cost.  So how do these programs work?  And where can you find one?

What is a PAP?

Patient Assistance Programs are programs usually designed by a pharmaceutical company to offer medications to low income or uninsured patients for free or with a small co-pay.  You may have heard of them before, usually at the end of an advertisement for a medication they will mention that financial help is available for those who qualify.  To enroll the patient needs to fill out an application form and get their doctor’s signature and sometimes a prescription.  For many patient assistance programs the applicant will need to prove their income level – usually with a tax document or copy of their paystub.

Where

Read more

In honor of Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month we are focusing this week’s blog post on resources for these two conditions. Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that is fairly common, with an estimated 48,610 new cases each year. From the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website, “Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed. The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control.” There are multiple types of Leukemia, some more common than others. The four most common types are named according to the type of cell that is affected, they are Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and Chronic Lymphocytic

Read more