Speaker for the Diodes - Good, Bad, and WTF
Feb. 9th, 2007
02:20 pm - Good, Bad, and WTF
Yesterday I saw two rheumatologists -- not covered by the state health-care-for-poor-people plan, so I had to borrow money from Mom -- and today I go back to see my regular doctor at the clinic. Apparently not much has changed in the treatment of fibromyalgia since the last time I saw a rheumatologist, and most of the usual stuff has already been tried, so they ordered blood tests to make sure I hadn't developed anything they could treat in the meantime, wrote me a referral to a pain management center, photocopied a couple of pages from my old rheumatologist's records just in case I do wind up becoming their patient, and told me it was nice meeting me, they were sorry they couldn't do more, and there was no reason to come back unless my blood tests show something abnormal. So it kinda sounds like a poor use of that $50 on the surface, but hey, one step of the "we gotta do things in the right order" process done, the aforementioned referral (though I've no clue how much that's going to cost), and a prescription for a drug I've wanted very badly for about ten years: extended release tramadol.
I mentioned that the drug I wanted didn't seem to exist, and one of the doctors said, "oh, that exists now." Apparently it came on the market within the past two years (which would be a little while after the lat time I pestered a pharmacist asking whether it existed yet. The catch: they didn't think the state's prescription plan would cover it.
So I took the prescription to the pharmacy just in case, and asked them to check whether it would be covered or not, figuring that if it wasn't, I could just hold onto it until I came up with the money to buy it out-of-pocket. I expected this to be a quick computer query, but it turned into a half-hour telephone-and-computer-and-fax process where the person working on it kept having to call the pharmacist over to put his finger on the fingerprint scanner attached to the computer, and the final answer was that it would be covered after all. *whew*
Except that when I got it home and looked at the bottle, it said "Tramadol HCl - Acetaminophen Tab (subst. for Ultracet)", which sounded ... well, not quite what I expected. And I didn't see any of the expected warnings about "must be swallowed whole, do not crush". I went online and found Ultracet described, and there was nothing in those pages about extended release -- it's just a third as much tramadol as I usually take combined with a drug that has no effect on me. Getting to the Ultram ER information took a little longer (some pages didn't want to load), but there I found all the stuff about it being extended release and do not crush or chew and no mention of acetaminophen.
Oh boy. This doesn't look good.
Wish me luck getting this straightened out.