Wednesday, July 02, 2008


So for the past 4 years I get occasional skin issues that pop up - rashes and infections and things. Never been quite able to figure out what causes them, just figure I have weird/sensitive skin.

Recently I had a flare up of a rash I get occasionally, so I went to my dermatologist to check it out. She said there were actually patches of two different things - a little bit of psoriasis and a skin infection. She also mentioned that Remicade can cause various skin issues. She did a culture of the infected area, prescribed three medications (an oral antibiotic, a topical antibiotic, and a topical steroid), and sent me on my way.

I got the prescriptions and my skin was looking better and better over the weekend. YAY! I also did some research about Remicade and skin issues, and found that Remicade and several similar drugs (Enbrel, Humira) have been linked to skin issues - apparently, your risk for skin problems (infections, eczema, etc.) doubles and risk for skin cancer triples. I have been taking Remicade since 2002 and have had unexplained skin issues since 2004, so maybe that is what has been causing them! Maybe not, but at least now I can get Geoff to stop telling me I don't wash well enough. ;-)

The saga continues: yesterday I got a call from her office that my culture had tested positive for staph. Yikes! She had ever so casually mentioned that but I had pretty much forgotten about it, so I was pretty surprised when they said that. Happily, it is not MRSA (the drug-resistant staph) and since she already had me on all of the different medications I didn't have to change anything. It just feels weird to think I have/had staph. But again - Crohn's (not Remicade, but Crohn's itself) can cause a weakened immune system, which can lead to staph. Yay for my Crohn's. :)

So this morning, just by coincidence, I was perusing the manufacturer's websites of the medicines I'm taking. I happened upon a $15 coupon for one of them... and then a $20 coupon for another... - WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me? I asked Patrick (who works for a pharmacy benefits manager - basically the type of company that you get your prescription insurance through) if he is familiar with coupons for name brand drugs (which of course all of mine were) and if you can use the with insurance copays. He replied that yes, I could. So I started kicking myself for not knowing this ahead of time. I even googled something like "prescription coupons with insurance" to see how common this was and one of the google answers was a link to my favorite personal finance blog talking about how almost ALL prescription drug companies do this for their name brand (read: pricey!) drugs. It was before I started reading the blog, so I wasn't like I had read that before and forgotten about it, but STILL!

Then I checked the third prescription, just to see how much more I could have saved and should be kicking myself for. Praise of all praises, it had a $35 REBATE!!!!! Yes, that's right, REBATE!!!! Normally I'm a bigger fan of coupons than rebates (get your savings then and there, less hassle, etc.) but since I didn't know ahead of time this is great! Yes, I could have saved an extra $35 if I had known about the coupons, but $35 out of $70 potential savings isn't bad. Better than a kick in the shin, as my parents like to say - and better than nothing at all if I hadn't happened to look those medicines up.

So, the moral of the story is: if you're taking name-brand prescription drugs, look them up! For at least one of mine, the rebate is good on new and refill prescriptions. Could be some big savings for you. :)

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