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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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    2 years ago

    I get so confused with Methotrexate for the exact reasons you stated, Lisa! I sometimes miss doses because I’m sick, sometimes the vials are single-use or the extremely large one with preservatives. Sometimes, I get a full three months supply, sometimes just a month..Sometimes, even less because they don’t have it in stock!

    I am really glad you were able to get your medication for a reasonable price! Spoonie win 🙂

  • Carla Kienast
    2 years ago

    Lisa: This isn’t a little thing — this is HUGE! Anything that can help ensure we get our medications (and get them at a lower cost) is amazing! I hope the injectable is working well for you. Studies have shown that it’s better absorbed and used than the oral form. Thanks for sharing this unexpected victory!

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    2 years ago

    After years of one vial for three months I got 12 vials and I was wait what. Sure enough I was prescribed the usual dose and I call pharmacy and asked what to do with the rest.

    The pharmacist flipped when I told her I took the entire vial. She asked how I was feeling. Oh a little queasy I said. Well maybe you should go to the hospital she said. Why I said the label on the bottle says one vial per injection.

    Then I laughed. LOL No i said I took the usual amount. But hey I know she needed a joke.

    The second time I picked it up the instructions were in 96pt type on a white piece of paper take 25 u and do not call and make you pharmacist upset. It was inside the bag when I opened it

    You have to love pharmacy fun.

  • CaseyH moderator
    2 years ago

    Haha! I love this story Rick! You have an awesome sense of humor! I actually laughed out loud reading that! Thanks for sharing your pharmacy fun and bright attitude with us. It is much appreciated! -Casey, Team

  • Lisa Emrich author
    2 years ago

    Haha. I’m glad that your pharmacist has a good sense of humor. But the way MTX is packaged can be confusing. For the first supply I picked up, I immediately thought that one vial was intended for two doses. I hadn’t noticed that it didn’t have preservatives.
    Thanks for sharing your laugh.

  • Leanne Donaldson moderator
    2 years ago

    LOL! I bet you really gave your pharmacist a scare Rick! I love that you still have such a great sense of humor. My pharmacist would have a fit if I played a trick like that on her 🙂 Thank for the laugh today! -Leanne, Community Moderator

  • 2mra
    2 years ago

    HA! You made me laugh. I know what you mean about having to look after the family supply of meds. After our Kids moved out, it was easier since my Hubby refused to use any drugs, although he needed them. He does use a couple now. My load however can be complicated and frustrating to remember sometimes. I was on gold injections many years ago(only the older meds worked for me) and it worked well for me for about 2 1/2 years.

    Anyways, good for you. I’m glad that it made your day…..probably week.

  • Lisa Emrich author
    2 years ago

    Thanks for reading and commenting, 2mra! Turns out that it made my month. LOL.

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