View Full Version : $900 a month for Strattera


Shinysaruh
05-09-17, 02:10 PM
Hi everyone, I am new here.
I recently took the difficult step of seeking professional help, and was diagnosed with Adhd.

BUT then I went to pick up my prescription for Strattera and found out it costs $900 per month!!! And that's with my health insurance.
The Dr gave me a discount card from the drug manufacturer, it was supposed to give me the 1st month free, but it only took $100 off.
Apparently there is no generic and no comparable drug available.
I was hoping someone here would have some advice, because surely I am not the 1st person to run into this.
I made an appt with my Dr to discuss other options so I guess we'll see how that goes.
Are all ADD meds outrageously expensive???

namazu
05-09-17, 02:42 PM
Strattera:

$900/month? Oof! That is super-expensive.

I'd thought that Strattera's patent was set to expire this month, so cheaper generics may become available soon-ish. [?] ...But that's no help in the short-term, unfortunately.

Does your insurance plan have a medication-by-mail program? If so, the prices may be somewhat more favorable than at a retail pharmacy. Still, if your insurance Rx coverage is set up to cover only a small proportion of the cost, that may not be enough to make it affordable.

GoodRx (.com) is a free website that makes it easier to compare prices across pharmacies -- and they do vary some. This obviously only helps if you're in an area with multiple pharmacies, and can get to them. They may also have some discounts available, but there's no guarantee that they'd work any better than the discount card you tried from the manufacturer.

The manufacturer (Eli Lilly) has a patient assistance program that will provide medication for free or at greatly reduced cost. However, it's only available to people without insurance (or Medicare Part D) or whose insurance doesn't cover the medication at all. I don't think you'd qualify if your medication is technically "covered" (even with an extremely steep co-pay). If your insurance actually excludes Strattera altogether, and that's why you have to pay $900, then you might be eligible. The name of the patient assistance program is "LillyCares" and you can find the application here (http://lillycares.com/_assets/pdf/lillycares_application.pdf).

Lilly also seems to have been pretty aggressive in marketing the medication, and distributed a lot of "sample packs" to physicians. Explain to your prescribing doctor that the medication is unaffordable, and ask whether they have any sample packs lying around that they could give you. If, in fact, a generic is on the way soon, this could maybe tide you over until then.

Other ADHD medications:

Other ADHD medications also vary quite a bit in price. Some of the newer, brand-name ones can be similarly expensive to the Strattera. Many of the older ones (which are no less effective, and in some cases may even be more effective) have generic versions available as well. Both methylphenidate and amphetamines have short- and long-acting versions, and there are generics available for them.

Stimulant medications (like methylphenidate [Ritalin/Concerta/etc.] and amphetamines [Adderall/Dexedrine/etc.]) are considered "first-line" treatments for ADHD in uncomplicated cases. This means that the current standard of care is to prescribe these medications (often along with psychotherapy of some kind) before turning to other medications (like Strattera), which have a shorter history of use and may not be as effective, on average, for most people. (Strattera does work well, even better than stimulants, for some people, but on the whole the stimulants appear to be more effective and have fewer side effects for most people.)

If there's a medical reason to avoid stimulants (for example, a history of stimulant abuse, possibly certain heart conditions, history of bad side effects from stimulants, etc.), doctors sometimes go with the second-line medications (like Strattera) instead. Doctors who are uncomfortable with prescribing stimulants (whether due to inexperience, concerns about DEA scrutiny, or misconceptions about ADHD in adults) also sometimes avoid prescribing stimulants to patients, but this is not in line with the recommendations of the major professional organizations.

Given the recommendations for treating ADHD, as well as your concerns about cost, it would be reasonable to ask your doctor about trying a different medication instead.

Generic non-medication advice:

While that's all getting sorted, take stock of your "lifestyle" habits (diet, exercise, sleep, etc.). Changing these isn't usually sufficient to make ADHD symptoms go away, but they can all help some, and they can help you function better with or without medication. (Of course, changing habits can also be more difficult when ADHD symptoms aren't well-managed, so there can be a bit of a vicious cycle, alas.) Occasionally someone discovers a food sensitivity or sleep problem (like apnea) that really does contribute substantially to the problems they're experiencing, and addressing those can be a huge help, too.

Best wishes for finding a medication that works for you and that you can afford!

Shinysaruh
05-09-17, 03:12 PM
Thank you for your quick & thorough response!
It sounds like Strattera is just off the table for me until a generic becomes available.
The Dr wanted to "trial" me on non-stimulant meds for a month before starting me on stimulants, but I have no issues medical or otherwise that would make me a poor candidate for stimulants. Hopefully the follow up appt goes well, if not then I know I need to go Dr shopping!
Thanks again for your advice, I am glad I found this forum!

dvdnvwls
05-09-17, 10:30 PM
If we're certain that this wasn't a mis-read or mis-written prescription, then I agree with all that's been said so far. It sounds like such a crazy number that I wonder if something went wrong though.

namazu
05-09-17, 10:39 PM
If we're certain that this wasn't a mis-read or mis-written prescription, then I agree with all that's been said so far. It sounds like such a crazy number that I wonder if something went wrong though.
I just looked at the prices on GoodRx. For Broken Arrow, OK, it's about $450 for 30 pills (any dose) and $900 for 60 pills (any dose) -- but that's the out-of-pocket price. If the OP is taking a divided dose (2 pills/day), it could actually be $900:
http://oi63.tinypic.com/20zz21j.jpg
If the OP is only prescribed 1 pill/day, then it is possible that the Rx was written incorrectly or misread. (Not that $450/month is exactly chump change, either.)

Shinysaruh, do you know if your insurance covered anything at all? It looks like ~$900 is what you'd pay out of pocket, without any insurance help.

Is it possible they just don't cover Strattera? If your insurance doesn't cover Strattera at all, then you would likely be eligible for Lilly's patient assistance program (link to application form above).

Kunga Dorji
05-09-17, 10:41 PM
I haven't found a price of $900 yet-- but
Here's an online price checker:

https://www.goodrx.com/strattera?form=capsule&dosage=60mg&quantity=30&days_supply=&label_override=Strattera

It is outright profiteering.

The price in Australia for 56 tabs of 60mg Strattera is $74 if you do not qualify for a government discount.

The reason for this was that for Strattera to be licenced in Australia the makers had to prove not only that it was safe, but also that it was cost effective as against ritalin, and dexamphetamine - both very cheap.

So the makers of Strattera negotiated and decided they could still make an acceptable profit at a retail cost of $74 Aus.

Kunga Dorji
05-09-17, 11:18 PM
The patent on Atomoxetine as a treatment for ADHD expired in 2016. There should be generics available
See commentary here
https://www.uspharmacist.com/<wbr>article/new-generics-in-the-<wbr>pipeline (https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/new-generics-in-the-pipeline)

Atomoxetine (Strattera) is a novel norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that has a niche market for ADHD in patients who cannot tolerate stimulants such as methylphenidate or mixed amphetamine salts, or those who do not want to be prescribed a C-2 controlled substance. Both stimulants are available generically for about $1 per tablet, but the branded extended-release formulations of both stimulants range from $5 to $10 per tablet.17 Atomoxetine’s market share for ADHD in adults and children will increase as the price becomes more competitive, especially since atomoxetine is a legend drug with no abuse potential. The first generic for atomoxetine is expected in May 2017.
R
Atomoxetine (Strattera) is a novel norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that has a niche market for ADHD in patients who cannot tolerate stimulants such as methylphenidate or mixed amphetamine salts, or those who do not want to be prescribed a C-2 controlled substance. Both stimulants are available generically for about $1 per tablet, but the branded extended-release formulations of both stimulants range from $5 to $10 per tablet.17 Atomoxetine’s market share for ADHD in adults and children will increase as the price becomes more competitive, especially since atomoxetine is a legend drug with no abuse potential. The first generic for atomoxetine is expected in May 2017. - See more at: https://www.uspharmacist.com/<wbr>article/new-generics-in-the-<wbr>pipeline#sthash.eRNEDdIB.dpuf (https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/new-generics-in-the-pipeline#sthash.eRNEDdIB.dpuf)

Atomoxetine (Strattera) is a novel norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that has a niche market for ADHD in patients who cannot tolerate stimulants such as methylphenidate or mixed amphetamine salts, or those who do not want to be prescribed a C-2 controlled substance. Both stimulants are available generically for about $1 per tablet, but the branded extended-release formulations of both stimulants range from $5 to $10 per tablet.17 Atomoxetine’s market share for ADHD in adults and children will increase as the price becomes more competitive, especially since atomoxetine is a legend drug with no abuse potential. The first generic for atomoxetine is expected in May 2017. - See more at: https://www.uspharmacist.com/<wbr>article/new-generics-in-the-<wbr>pipeline#sthash.eRNEDdIB.dpuf (https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/new-generics-in-the-pipeline#sthash.eRNEDdIB.dpuf)

namazu
05-09-17, 11:30 PM
The patent on Atomoxetine as a treatment for ADHD expired in 2016. There should be generics available
[...]
The first generic for atomoxetine is expected in May 2017.
According to what you quoted above, they were predicting generic atomoxetine in May 2017 (i.e., any day now).

So in theory, it could be imminent, but I haven't seen any announcements of a generic on the market in the US (yet).

Per the FDA's website (https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/daf/index.cfm) (screenshot from search made just a moment ago) it appears there are a slew of manufacturers with "tentative approval" queued up to produce a generic, but none appears to have begun yet:
http://oi67.tinypic.com/25qaog6.jpg
Hopefully a generic will be available soon so that people who find this medication helpful or wish to try it won't be subject to such exorbitant prices.

(I'm reserving further commentary due to ADDF guidelines prohibiting political discussion on the open forum ;) and also because my opinions on such matters won't be of any practical help to the OP.)

Meanwhile, there are lower-priced (and generic) options among the stimulants.

Arei
05-10-17, 03:09 AM
I work in pharmacy and haven't seen anything yet, but I saw something that said end of May is apparently when generic Strattera is expected. Usually they just appear one day in our order, they don't make a big announcement that they're coming ahead of time they just... show up lol, when a new generic launches that is. I wouldn't get super excited though, I'm sure the generic will still be hundreds of dollars. It'll probably take 2-3 years for the price to come down significantly. Unless your insurance plan just has a blanket "all generics are cheap!!!1!1!!!" policy (which very few do anymore).

I'm guessing if they're charging you $900 then you're probably taking 2 capsules a day and thats probably the cash price. I would ask the pharmacy if your insurance is showing a paid claim, or if its rejecting and saying not covered at all. If its showing a paid claim, then you may not qualify for the manufacturer's assistance since its technically "covered" since the claim shows "paid" even though the insurance company didn't pay crap. If it says not covered/non formulary, then you should have a chance, as said above, at getting on the assistance program.

jman05
05-31-17, 10:37 AM
Its weird how there is NO word on strattera generics given that the patent is expiring now. I only need like 30mg a day, so I get 100mg tablets and just split them.

aeon
05-31-17, 11:38 AM
Are all ADD meds outrageously expensive???

In the United States, they tend to be because of arbitrary FDA limits, Class II scheduling, and the for-profit model of medicine.


Cheers,
Ian

someothertime
05-31-17, 08:37 PM
You could try begging your prescriber for samples... $900 is insane....

someothertime
05-31-17, 09:21 PM
Moderator Note:

Splitting strattera constitutes misuse..... please don't do it, or encourage others to.

http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15842

No posts on O.D.s, illegal or improper use of Meds
<hr style="COLOR: #d1d1e1" size="1">NO posts involving O.D.s, illegal or improper use of Medication are allowed

In an effort to protect all who use these forums, no posts will be allowed that encourage or support the illegal or improper use of medication of any kind. We do not condone illegal or improper use and do not wish to be a source of information for people who would use medication this way. This includes talk about overdoses or O.D.'s.

MiamiGinger
06-01-17, 11:19 AM
I've been watching the news for updates on when generics will be rolled out for Strattera for months, as my son is prescribed it currently and even with my insurance, I'm shelling out close to 400/month on it.

Thankfully, this happened a day or so ago:

FDA Approves First Generic Strattera for the Treatment of ADHD (https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm561096.htm)

So hopefully, we'll start seeing generics pop up in pharmacies soon.

John E
06-06-17, 12:46 PM
That's great news on the generic version. Generic Strattera has been manufactured in foreign (non-US) labs for nearly a decade now. From the list posted previously, it looks like some of these labs are positioning themselves to enter the US (no surprise). For reference, Sun Pharmaceuticals sells a 30 day supply of Atomoxetine for under $10 (for all doses) in India. So I wouldn't be surprised if prices come down quickly to under $100 once it gets on market.

sarahsweets
06-07-17, 06:00 AM
I wonder if the company will apply for an emergency patent extension like some other companies do.

jman05
06-07-17, 08:33 AM
That's great news on the generic version. Generic Strattera has been manufactured in foreign (non-US) labs for nearly a decade now. From the list posted previously, it looks like some of these labs are positioning themselves to enter the US (no surprise). For reference, Sun Pharmaceuticals sells a 30 day supply of Atomoxetine for under $10 (for all doses) in India. So I wouldn't be surprised if prices come down quickly to under $100 once it gets on market.

Shouldn't take long for them to release it then. I'm sure they have the generic perfected. OF course who knows how it will take the beuocrats at the FDA to approve it anyways.

Arei
06-08-17, 10:44 PM
We have generic strattera now! I haven't bothered looking up its cash price .___. I keep forgetting, but we do have it in stock. I already met my OOP max so everything is free for me but I'm scared to find out how much it costs when the year starts over ��

sabres12
06-14-17, 09:00 PM
We have generic strattera now! I haven't bothered looking up its cash price .___. I keep forgetting, but we do have it in stock. I already met my OOP max so everything is free for me but I'm scared to find out how much it costs when the year starts over ��

Yay for generics! Canada has had generic versions for quite a while. But even brand name Strattera 60mg only costs $170 CDN for a 30 day supply.

f4lseanalogy
10-17-17, 12:12 AM
Been using strattera for a month and 1/2 now ever since they only charge me 5$
~~~~~~~~
Strattera 1 month and 2 weeks user
120lbs
40 day and night.