Migraines Without Insurance

If you are a migraine sufferer or close to someone who is, you know how debilitating migraines can be.   You may or may not know that many over the counter medications – even the ones for migraines – can make the migraines worse because the way they work on the blood vessels in the head does the opposite of what is needed to stop a migraine.

The best alternatives to over the counter medications are prescription medications that are specifically designed to combat migraines.  There are a number of migraine medications on the market now and they work on specific symptoms of migraines.  Most of these medications work relatively quickly, especially when taken at the beginning of a migraine, as opposed to waiting until a migraine is full blown.

All of this is good and is essential in managing migraines – as long as you have insurance or, if you have no insurance, as long as you can afford these medications. 

For example, one of the top migraine medications is Imitrex.  Imitrex came out about 12 years ago and cost $8.95 per tablet.  If that wasn’t bad enough, Imitrex now costs about $19 per tablet.  It is interesting that as more and more people have used the medication, its cost has gone up, not down.  With the economic situation the way it is, and with so many people who do not have insurance, what to people do to deal with migraines if they cannot afford the Imitrex?

Some of them suffer – keeping them off work and costing more money which affects the economy, or they go to the emergency room, a more expensive solution to the problem, which will bring relief to the pain and help make the medical crisis in this country worse because the ER has to take people no matter whether they have insurance or not.  This means that f the person can’t pay for the ER services; the hospital – and the medical system – has to absorb the cost, thus making the deficits larger and driving costs up.  So, instead of paying for a $19 pill, the migraine sufferer has now dealt with a hospital visit for somewhere between $300 to $600.

What is the solution?  Hopefully the drug companies will get realistic about the cost of medication.  Migraines are not a small issue.  They can lead to stroke, coma, heart attacks, and, in some cases, death.  Drug companies need to be more responsible in making migraine medication available at a more reasonable cost so that they are not contributing to the suffering of millions of people and the deficits in the medical and hospital system.

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