Pharmaceuticals

Top 100 Drugs Filled

The following information is provided by our partner, LowestMed

Insurance vs. Rx Coupons

Prescription drug prices not only vary by which pharmacy you shop at, but they also differ by which insurance or discount service is used. This means drugs filled using insurance and those filled with Rx coupons can be vastly different.

We thought it would be interesting to compile a list of the top 100 drugs filled not using insurance and compare those against the top 100 drugs filled through insurance.

Prescription drug purchase habits are starting to change for consumers.

Consumers are becoming savvier when shopping around for prescriptions, instead of just assuming their health insurance has negotiated the best price for them.

Another factor driving consumers to use discount coupons, rather than insurance, is the drug formulary exclusion list. Depending on what health plan an individual has, specific drugs may or may not be covered, according to their health insurance drug formularies.

How the top drugs filled differ between lists.

The top 10 drugs filled by consumers, not using health insurance, treat a variety of conditions. But only three drugs in the top 10 (Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen, Amlodipine and Lisinopril) are also in the top 10 list of drugs purchased with insurance.

Top 10 drugs filled not using Health Insurance, in 2016

  1. Phentermine (generic for Apidex-p)

Phentermine is prescribed by doctors to help mitigate the health risks associated with obesity. It acts as an appetite suppressant. It does so by affecting the central nervous system. It is a stimulant, similar to amphetamine. Along with diet and exercise, Phentermine is used to treat obesity in people.

  1. Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (generic for Vicodin, Norco, Lortab)

Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The medication is a combination of Hydrocodone, a narcotic pain reliever, and Acetaminophen, which is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.

  1. Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine (generic for Adderall)

Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine is a medicine combination used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine are central nervous system stimulants that affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to impulse control and hyperactivity.

  1. Zolpidem (generic for Ambien)

Zolpidem helps individuals fall asleep, by affecting chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with sleep problems – also known as insomnia. It is a sedative.

  1. Alprazolam (generic for Xanax)

Alprazolam works by affecting chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety. It is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorder and anxiety caused by depression.

  1. Lisinopril (generic for Prinivil)

Lisinopril is an Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE inhibitor) used to treat high blood pressure in adults and children whom are at least 6-years-old. It is also used to improve survival after a heart attack, or congestive heart failure.

  1. Amlodipine (generic for Norvasc)

Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker that widens blood vessels and improves blood flow. It is used to treat chest pain, as well as other conditions caused by coronary artery disease. It also reduces the risk of stroke or heart attack and is used to treat high blood pressure.

  1. Gabapentin (generic for Neurontin)

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant, or an anti-epileptic medication. It works by affecting nerves and chemicals in the body that cause seizures and other types of pain. Other brands and forms of Gabapentin can be used to treat restless legs syndrome and nerve pain.

  1. Tramadol (generic for Rysolt and Ultram)

Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain as a narcotic-like pain reliever.

  1. Amoxicillin (generic for Moxatag)

Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic used to fight bacteria. It is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, like tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and infections of the ear, nose, throat, skin, or urinary tract. It can be used together with other antibiotics, such as Clarithromycin.

Top 10 drugs filled using insurance in 2016.

  1. Atorvastatin Calcium (generic for Lipitor) #12 on the not using insurance list

Atorvastatin Calcium is a common statin used to reduce bad levels of cholesterol, while increasing the levels of good cholesterol.

  1. Levothyroxine (generic for Synthroid) #61 on the filled not using insurance list

Levothyroxine treats hypothyroidism. It is used to replace a hormone normally produced by your thyroid gland, which regulates metabolic function and your body’s energy.

  1. Lisinopril (generic for Prinivil) #6 filled not using insurance list

Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor used to treat hypertension.

  1. Omeprazole (generic for Prilosec) #14 filled not using insurance list

Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor used to decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach. It is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, as well as other conditions that are caused by excess stomach acid.

  1. Metformin (generic for Glucophage) #22 filled not using insurance list

Metformin is used to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. It is an oral medication that helps control blood sugar levels.

  1. Amlodipine (generic for Norvasc) #7 filled not using insurance list

Amlodipine is used to treat chest pain, as well as other conditions related to coronary artery disease. It is a calcium channel blocker that widens blood vessels to improve blood flow.

  1. Simvastatin (generic for Zocor) #38 filled not using insurance list

Simvastatin is used to lower triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. It belongs to the statins drug group. It helps lower bad cholesterol, while increasing levels of good cholesterol.

  1. Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (generic for Vicodin, Norco, Lortab) #2 filled not using insurance list

Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The medication is a combination of Hydrocodone, a narcotic pain reliever, and Acetaminophen, which is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.

  1. Metoprolol (generic for Lopressor) #33 filled not using insurance list

Metoprolol is used to treat chest pain and high blood pressure. It can also be used to treat or prevent heart attack. Metoprolol is a beta-blocker that affects the heart and circulation.

  1. Losartan (generic for Cozaar) #80 filled not using insurance list

Losartan is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). It can also be used to lower the risk of stroke in certain people with heart disease.

***View the lists in their entirety at the bottom of this blog post.***

 

Why would these lists differ so much?

Insured and uninsured consumers are starting to shop around for the lowest price on their medications. Here are a few reasons why consumers may be using discount sources instead of the negotiated prices provided by their insurance.

  1. Purchasing high cost drugs

High deductible health plans require consumers to pay 100 percent of their medication’s costs, up until the deductible amount is met. Patients on these plans often use discount and coupon services, because they can have lower costs than what has been negotiated by their insurance. Furthermore, some insurances will allow their members to submit purchase amounts to count toward meeting their deductible.

– Common drugs that fall into this category are: Humira, Toujeo, Symbicort and Epipen

  1. Their health insurance drug formulary excludes the drug they’re filling

Health insurance drug formularies are lists of medications covered by insurers. The medications covered can either be brand or generic. Typically the drugs excluded from the approved formulary are high cost or brand name medications. If a medication isn’t covered, whether the consumer is on a high deductible or standard insurance plan, individuals will often shop around for the lowest price, using tools like LowestMed.

– Common drugs that fall into this category are: Crestor, Nexium, Lantus, Novolin, and Evzio.

  1. The medication purchases are related to elective procedures

Elective procedures are usually not covered by health insurance – therefore, the medications corresponding to them aren’t covered. Some of the elective conditions or procedures that may fall into this category are cosmetic surgery, weight loss treatments, some dermatology procedures, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, and pain medication or antibiotics for dental procedures.

– Common drugs that fall into this category are: Phentermine, Viagra and Propecia.

Do consumers use Rx coupons for maintenance drugs too?

Yes, there are many routine drugs consumers buy using Rx coupons, instead of insurance prices. Below are a few reasons why this may be the case.

  1. They are Filling Maintenance Drugs

Maintenance drugs are often less expensive, because they tend to be generic drugs, not brand medications. Pharmacy prices typically vary widely for these types of medications. Drugs like Atorvastatin Calcium (Lipitor), Lisinopril (Prinivil) and Alprazolam (Xanax), among many others, fall into this category. Consumers save by comparing pharmacy prices for these drugs.

  1. Common Antibiotics

Antibiotics are usually one time, short-term prescriptions. For example, if an individual comes down with a bacterial infection and needs an antibiotic, they may be prescribed a short-term dose of an antibiotic, like Azithromycin or Amoxicillin. These are usually prescribed in smaller quantities and tools like LowestMed can sometimes find a price lower than what health insurance has negotiated.

  1. Acute Treatments

Acute treatment is a form of short-term care. Acute care generally treats conditions like severe injury, illnesses, urgent medical conditions or recovery from surgery. Pain medications usually fall under this category. Drugs like Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen and Oxycodone are common drugs prescribed for acute treatments and Rx coupons can typically get individuals the lowest price.

Key observation

The number one drug in both categories deal with the effects of diet decisions – Phentermine being the number one drug filled not using insurance and Atorvastatin Calcium being the number one drug filled through insurance.

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