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    Old 07-21-2008, 06:32 PM   #1
    molly3631
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    How to pay for Avonex?

    Hello -

    I was just diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS last week. It's a relief in a way to finally know what this is that I'm dealing with. My neuro recommended that I start one of the 4 drugs that are out there, I chose Avonex because of the once a week convenience. After finding out what my insurance benefits are and the price of Avonex per month, I am waiting to hear from the company regarding financial assistance. I used most of my prescription benefits with recent IV steroid treatments, however my benefits would have only covered one month of Avonex anyway.

    Has anyone gone through this? If so, what were your results? I'm really feeling the financial strain and wondering if I'll be able to take one of these drugs.

    Looking forward to hearing advice!

    Sincerely,

    Corine

     
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    Old 07-21-2008, 06:58 PM   #2
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Hi, Corine. I just wanted to say welcome. I don't have any advice for you but I know that there are people who have gotten assistance. I wish you the best of luck and hope you're doing okay. You sound like you have a positive attitude and that's important!

     
    Old 07-21-2008, 07:14 PM   #3
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Hi Corine,
    I was dx'd in February and went through the process of trying to get assistance. A consultant will contact you after your doctor calls them with your prescription for your Avonex.

    I qualified for a grant through the NORD program but they were out of funds.

    Since I qualified for assistance but NORD did not have the funds I was able to get 2 years of Avonex at no charge from a different program.

    I don't recall the name of the other program but the Avonex reps will have and walk you through all of this.

    Try not to worry about it. The Avonex reps are very helpful and will do everything they can to help you find assistance. You will be able to get your Avonex even while you are waiting to hear about any financial assistance available to you.

    Even though it took 3 months to get my assistance set up I was able to start my Avonex injections two weeks after my diagnosis. I was dx'd in February and got my assistance approval in May.

    My Avonex rep said as long as they knew I was working on getting assistance they would continue to send me the Avonex free of charge. So I got 3 months worth of Avonex at no charge while I was waiting to hear how I was going to afford to pay for this medication.

    My advice is let your doctor know you decided on Avonex, if you havent already, and the process will start and you will not have to do a thing. The Avonex reps called me and told me exactly what I needed to do. They walked me through all of it and they were wonderful! Hope this helps.

    LA

    E=molly3631;3657274]Hello -

    I was just diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS last week. It's a relief in a way to finally know what this is that I'm dealing with. My neuro recommended that I start one of the 4 drugs that are out there, I chose Avonex because of the once a week convenience. After finding out what my insurance benefits are and the price of Avonex per month, I am waiting to hear from the company regarding financial assistance. I used most of my prescription benefits with recent IV steroid treatments, however my benefits would have only covered one month of Avonex anyway.

    Has anyone gone through this? If so, what were your results? I'm really feeling the financial strain and wondering if I'll be able to take one of these drugs.

    Looking forward to hearing advice!

    Sincerely,

    Corine[/QUOTE]
    __________________
    LA
    DMD's - Avonex, Betaseron, Tysabri, Tecfedera, currently on Copaxone. I have had trouble with all of the DMD's
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    Last edited by LATW; 07-21-2008 at 07:17 PM.

     
    Old 07-21-2008, 07:29 PM   #4
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Latw has given you some ideas to go on, but I just wanted to stop in and welcome you to the family here! Big hugs!
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    Old 07-21-2008, 07:43 PM   #5
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Hi Corine,

    Welcome to the board. I was dx in March and am on Rebif. I don't have any answers for you about Avonex but be sure that this is a wonderful place and the people will embrace you and help you through this time. I know what a relief it is to finely figure out what is wrong!

    Best of luck to you.

    MommaEMS

     
    Old 07-22-2008, 01:11 PM   #6
    molly3631
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Thank you LA for your advice.

    I've already gotten the script from my dr and spoken to the Avonex rep. I feel like I've talked to so many people and don't have any answers yet. All I know is I can not even come close to being able to pay for the cost of Avonox per month. I've just left a follow up message for my Avonex rep. Hopefully she will be able to give me some answers.

    Thank you again!
    Corine

     
    Old 07-22-2008, 03:33 PM   #7
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Hi Corine,
    They will get back with you. Their goal is to make sure those with MS get their medcation no matter what their finacial situation is.

    All I can say is hang in there and it will all work out ok!

    LA

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by molly3631 View Post
    Thank you LA for your advice.

    I've already gotten the script from my dr and spoken to the Avonex rep. I feel like I've talked to so many people and don't have any answers yet. All I know is I can not even come close to being able to pay for the cost of Avonox per month. I've just left a follow up message for my Avonex rep. Hopefully she will be able to give me some answers.

    Thank you again!
    Corine
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    LA
    DMD's - Avonex, Betaseron, Tysabri, Tecfedera, currently on Copaxone. I have had trouble with all of the DMD's
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    Old 07-22-2008, 03:46 PM   #8
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Welcome to the Board!

    I'm on Avonex too. I work and I have insurance, but the deductible is $3,000.00, which as you know doesn't buy much avonex! I met my deductible early this year, then started a new job with the same stupid deductible, so I have to pay it again, and pay in January as well.

    The Avonex folks were very nice and they worked with me to go on a payment plan that I can afford. Still, it's a big chunk out of my income. If it wasn't for my husband's heart attack a few years ago, his treatment, and my MS, we'd be pretty well off. We're sacrificing a lot to take care of MS. I know how awful it is! I'm wishing you well.
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    Old 07-22-2008, 03:50 PM   #9
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    HI, I wanted to welcome you to the board too, and I may have an answer for you. First of all, if you arent totally dedicated to Avonex, look into Rebif. Its EXACTLY the same drug, the big difference being that its slightly stronger, given 3 times a week, but given subcutaneously, which means under the skin, not into the muscle- its also a smaller needle...the reason Im telling you this, is Rebif has a FIRST YEAR FREE program! For all new patients who choose Rebif, they give you a whole years prescription free if you dont have insurance left to pay for it..you will qualify! All you have to do is call MSLifelines, which is the company who sponsors Rebif and talk to them.

    If you still have your mind made up that you want to do Avonex, call them now. Because this is a mail order drug- you wont be picking it up at the local pharmacy- it might fall under different guidelines then your regular prescription coverage- youll need to talk to the people at Avonex to verify this, but I have a feeling, due to your situation, something will be done for you.

    Hope this helps alittle- and welcome.
    Nikki
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    Old 07-22-2008, 10:10 PM   #10
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Hi Corine,
    welcome to our boards. Just wanted to add I too am on Avonex and love the once a week injection. My shot is ( WED) tonight. Hope you get the assistance you need. Our health system is different here, so i cant really help you on what channels to go through.
    Do know there are a few of us here on the board that take Avonex, Your not alone.
    welcome again.

     
    Old 07-23-2008, 06:14 PM   #11
    molly3631
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Hello Nikki -

    Your advice is much appreciated! I will definitely look into Rebif. My dr. pretty much left it up to me, which medication I wanted to take. I just went with Avonex because of the convienent once a week injection.

    Thank you again -

    Corine

     
    Old 07-23-2008, 08:13 PM   #12
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    corine, im glad to help. I really like Rebif to be honest, not that its any better or worse than avonex, but my shots hurt less- even if I have to do them more often. I do them on T, Th and Sunday, that way I have off Friday and Saturdays, and it feels like a real weekend! Also, after the first few months, Ive never had another side effect. Call me lucky, but Ive learned so many tricks that I can help anyone get thru this stuff!

    I just had a friend call MSlifelines about the same thing I told you and she did get the one year free, so definately call. I know they are still offering it..
    Best of luck- let us know what happens.
    Nikki
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    Old 07-23-2008, 08:33 PM   #13
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    Actually the Avonex injection itself is quite pain free.

    I know that is probably surprising considering it is an IM injection but I have basically no pain as long as I use ice on the area I am going to inject for a minute or so before.

    The other really important thing is to get your leg as relaxed as you can.

    I find sitting in my recliner with the foot recline up really relaxes my muscles and I do not feel the injection at all.

    I never have any site reaction. Maybe a small bruise but even rarely that.

    So I would never let the fear of the Avonex injection being painful keep me from using it.

    Avonex does have the fluish side effects but they differ in severity for every one.

    Some lucky people have very few, if any, side effects.

    Some have enough side effects they have to stop the Avonex. I think most people fall somewhere in between.

    I did have a lot of side effects at first but my doctor adjusted my medications and I am doing much better.

    So anyway. It is good to get all the information you can before starting any of the meds.

    A year free is a great deal!

    LA
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MSNik View Post
    corine, im glad to help. I really like Rebif to be honest, not that its any better or worse than avonex, but my shots hurt less- even if I have to do them more often. I do them on T, Th and Sunday, that way I have off Friday and Saturdays, and it feels like a real weekend! Also, after the first few months, Ive never had another side effect. Call me lucky, but Ive learned so many tricks that I can help anyone get thru this stuff!

    I just had a friend call MSlifelines about the same thing I told you and she did get the one year free, so definately call. I know they are still offering it..
    Best of luck- let us know what happens.
    Nikki
    __________________
    LA
    DMD's - Avonex, Betaseron, Tysabri, Tecfedera, currently on Copaxone. I have had trouble with all of the DMD's
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    Old 07-24-2008, 05:48 AM   #14
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    Re: How to pay for Avonex?

    I took Avonex for a year and a half. I didn't even get the choice of treatments -- my neuro just handed me the starter kit and sent me home to wait for the nurse to come train me. It was a while before I heard of the other treatment options-- from internet research. I tried Copaxone a while ago (the painful lumps just got to be too much for me) and now I'm on Rebif. I like the Rebif because any flu-like symptoms I experience are rare and done by morning so I sleep through it anyway (I shoot myself before bed)! Now I just have to deal with the red spots and pain of a subcutaneous shot.

    The company that makes it, Biogen, used to have a financial assistance program, but with the economy over the past several years... maybe it's changed. Their web site should have info?

    And I never found it difficult to take the shots -- the only pain comes from the inital "stab" of the needle because of the nerves in the skin. It IS a little freaky to see that long needle going in and in.... I guess it's 1/4" shorter than it used to be? And I had fewer side effects with the powdered version than with the pre-filled syringes. It's a lot more of a production, but easy enough if you get the training. And nobody told me I could still get the powdered version because it was just switched by my pharmacist when the company made the change...

    I guess it's a case of needing to ask the RIGHT questions, knowing that there ARE questions to ask. Sort of like dealing with DHS and the SSA...

    Last edited by Lisa_P; 07-24-2008 at 05:57 AM.

     
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