Predicting the costs of depression meds?



Anonymous said to :

Do you or your followers know appox how much meds for depression would cost? I have a friend who has depression but they’re afraid to try meds because they’re worried they won’t be able to afford it. (and starting and then stopping suddenly would be bad.)

This depends a lot on where you are. I’m assuming that you’re talking about the US. (If people from other countries want to weigh in about how it works in your country, that would be very welcome.)

If you are in the US:

There are name brand drugs and generic drugs. Most name brand antidepressants have generic alternatives that are much, much cheaper. For almost everyone, generics and name brands are the same. (For some classes of drugs, and for people with certain allergies, there can be a difference, but generics are usually just as good.)

Not every drug has a generic, particularly new medications or extended-release formulations of existing drugs. If cost is an issue for you, it’s important to make sure your doctor knows that and to discuss what’s affordable. 

If you have insurance, there is probably a standard amount that your insurance charges for name brand drugs, and a standard amount they charge for generic drugs. (Or it might be a percentage of the price, which gets more complicated). You can probably find this out by checking on your insurer’s website (although you may have to look through a confusing long PDF about your plan. You can navigate by searching it for “prescription”.) If you are a student with school insurance, the health center should be able to tell you what these rates are.

If you don’t have insurance (or if your insurance charges a percentage of the price rather than a flat rate), it will be important to find the pharmacy that charges the least for the medication you take. The most straightforward way to do this is with GoodRx, a site that tells you which pharmacy near you has the lowest price, and which coupons are available.

Anyone else want to weigh in? How do you predict ability to afford to stay on medication for depression (or other things)?

kaizykat said:

If you go to CVS pharmacy, they have a Health Savings Pass.You can just print out your pass as soon as you fill out the form. (They send you a permanent pass in the mail). 

It costs $15 per year, which is charged when you pick up your first prescription using the pass, but it lets you get a 90 day supply of a bunch of different generic medications for $11.99. (Here is the list).

I just signed up today, since I just lost my health insurance and need to pick up my generic Paxil. Today, it will cost me $26.99 ($11.99 plus the $15 membership), but after that it will only cost me $11.99.

They also cover the following medications for depression/mental health:

  • Amitriptyline (Eavil) 10mg - 150mg
  • Benztrophine Mesylate 0.5mg - 2mg
  • Buspirone (Buspar) 5mg - 15mg
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol) 200mg
  • Citalopram (Celexa) 10mg - 40mg
  • Doxepin (Silenor) 10mg - 100mg
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) 10mg - 40mg
  • Fluphenazine (Prolixin) 1mg - 5mg
  • Haloperidol (Haldol) 0.5mg - 5mg
  • Imipramine (Tofranil) 10mg - 25mg
  • Lithium Carbonate 300mg
  • Mirtaxapine (Remeron) 15mg
  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor) 10mg - 75mg
  • Paroxetine (Paxil) 10mg - 40mg
  • Sertraline (Zoloft) 25mg
  • Thioridazine 10mg - 50mg
  • Thiothixene (Navane) 2mg
  • Trazodone (Oleptro) 50mg - 100mg
  • Trihexyphenidyl 2mg
  • Zonisamide (Zonegran) 25mg