Saturday, May 29, 2010

Better Living Through Chemistry... and of course Dieting

Three months into my husband's stay in the Philippines, the medicines which he brought with him had already run out. So we went to the doctor at Healthway at SM the Block and got a prescription for the same medicines. Well, maybe not exactly the same medicines, as it turns out, some medicine wasn't available locally and although all four of the blood pressure medicine was available they were not available in the same dosage.

The generic metoprolol was available in the exact same dosage, and the brand we were prescribed with was Neobloc and it didn't cost so much -- P3.75 for 50 mg.

My husband's second medicine was a combination diuretic and blood pressure medicine - Triamterene and Hydrochlorothiazide. Unfortunately, no such concoction exists in any national or local pharmacy. I have asked three drug stores already -- the big Mercury Drug, the Generic Drugstore and MedExpress. None of them carried Triamterene. So we have only Hydrochlorothiazide, and it cost P4.50 for 50 mg.

The last two were the costlier ones. The Diovan which was prescribed to us for 160 mg. costed around P60++ I think. We got a discount card which gave us 40% discount on our prescription.

The most expensive one was Accupril (Quinapril), that costed around P56 per 20 mg tablet. The sad thing is my husband is prescribed 40 mg twice a day, so we have to buy 4 20 milligrams to cover his usual prescription. We also have a discount card for it but it only gives a 40% discount for 32 tablets and we need about 120 tablets a month. Even with the 40% discount, we pay around P5600++ for Accupril (Quinapril), which my husband says he gets very cheaply in the U.S.

We are considering getting that abroad, but for the moment, I think it isn't worth the trouble. Over all, we pay about $200 for his medicines, which is certainly better than my original worst case scenario.

But the problem is, minus the Triamterene and the four 20-mg Accupril tablets which do not really have the same effect as two 40 mg Accupril tablets, my husband's blood pressure has gotten elevated. We have seen the doctor several times since then in the hopes of getting a better concoction, but no one wants to prescribe higher than what is already prescribed because they say it is already too high a dosage as it is. However, they did say he can take an extra Diovan a day if his blood pressure is alarmingly high in a day. We monitor his blood pressure everyday.

Apparently, filipinos, being slimmer as they are, really do not need high dosage of medicines as some Americans are prone to need because of their weight. So, it seems the only feasible solution to this problem is to lose weight, exercise more and eat more catabolic food. Less of the fattening fast foods on weekends and certainly more sensible foods at home.

Also, I have already relegated myself to the reality that a 24-hour aircon is a necessity than a luxury. Especially with the heat these days, there is no way I could have him turn the aircondition off at any time. I am just thinking of it as an investment in my husband's health.


  1. Thank you for the posts Claudette. Pharma costs seem to be much lower in the Philippines judging from the above account. How does your husband like living in Manila? It looks like I will be arriving in the Philippines next January so I am quite interested in in how your husband is adjusting to life in the Philippines.

    It is truly an extraordinary thing for a New Yorker to say, but I do believe the coming decades will be Asian Decades if that makes any sense. The economy here in the US and more specifically NYC is truly shot---I guess it is an inevitable result of thirty years of obsession with property and the stock market.LOL

    I like your posts a great deal as they go into much detail about the details and I find that truly interesting.



  2. He says he is happy here... but I think he and I knows it is more because I am here. :P He does say though that he wishes he has an air purifier and a dehumidifier. :p