Little Things Make A Huge Difference: The Story of Twelve Vials of Gold

Whoo Hoo!! Little things can make me so happy. After leaving the local pharmacy, I just had to take out my medication and capture a photo to document the source of my joy in that moment. I carefully set the box of medication and two loose vials of methotrexate on my car's dashboard. One click, then a share on Facebook.

I received TWELVE vials of methotrexate. Not four, but TWELVE!! That's a three-month supply. Well, almost. A full three months would take thirteen vials, but who's counting?

I've been taking methotrexate for 11 years to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is one of two drugs I use to keep my RA corralled. I've been on the full 25 mg weekly dose for what seems like forever.

In the early years, my doctor would write the prescription such that I would receive 130 tablets each 90 days. The prescription was automatically refilled and I didn't have to think much about it. Then, some time ago, my insurance stopped allowing me to have 130 tablets at once; I could only get 40 tablets - a one-month supply - at a time. However, between overlapping prescriptions, refills made as soon as eligible, and a few skipped weeks due to illness or travel, I rarely was low on supply.

Last year, my RA was acting up and causing me grief. My rheumatologist suggested that we try the injectable form of methotrexate instead of the pills. I'm not afraid of needles - for years, I gave myself daily shots of an MS medication - and willing to try something new if it would make a positive difference.

When I picked up my first supply of the "liquid gold" - injectable methotrexate is bright yellow - I talked with the pharmacist. There were 4 vials, but it looked like 8 doses since each vial contained 50 mg of medication. I quickly learned that these were single use vials because the medication was preservative-free. Half of the medication would need to be thrown out each week. Such a waste!!

Refilling meds can be confusing

For some reason, the injectable methotrexate prescription was not eligible to be placed on automatic refill. I was constantly needing to call to refill (or use the pharmacy website to order) and go pick up new meds. Combine this with the fact that I was very sick last summer and fall, on antibiotics, and skipping doses with doctor's approval, I would get totally confused as to when I needed more medication. Too frequently I'd go into my med box on a Friday night, ready to inject, to find no new vials at all. So frustrating.

That's what I discovered last week after I had been traveling. No methotrexate at home. This time the pharmacy needed to use a new prescription order my doctor had placed after our last appointment. I didn't expect anything different than usual.

So I was very much pleasantly surprised to find a 3-month supply in the bag. And, to top it all off - whipped cream and sprinkles, and all that, cause we're talking celebration here - this 3-month supply only cost me a single $10 copay. Woot woot!!

Now that I have a decent supply of medication at home, I am much less likely to skip doses. My RA should benefit. I will spend less time trying to coordinate medication refills and pickups (which can get crazy when you manage medications for 4 family members). And, I get to save some money.

Thank you to my pharmacist and the insurance company, you made my day.

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