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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Prescriptions

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Mexican Prescriptions
Question: I was told that I could go to Mexico and receive my prescription at a much reduced cost and receive a 3 month supply. I presently get prescribed Percodan. If so what do I have to do here in the states to be allowed to purchase my prescription in Mexico.

Answer: Patients of mine have done this using prescriptions from my office. I am not aware if they must be converted by a Mexican physician; but, I doubt it. However, traveling across customs boundaries with large amounts of narcotics will usually arouse unwanted attention-even if your prescription is legal. I am not aware of the U.S. laws on this; but, I would check with ATF or Customs for narcotics. Other drugs don't seem to be a problem.

High Cost Medications
Question: I take high cost medications, Betapace & Vasotec: Where is the most economical place to get my prescription filled? Mail order or otherwise. I live in the Los Angelas area.

Answer: I don't know the specifics of LA. But, two possibilities. One get them filled in Mexico-much cheaper according to my patients(get a year at a time). Two, switch to similar ;but, lower priced generics.

Prescription Explanations
Question: I've found six prescription bottles in my medicine cabinet. I don't know what they were prescribed for. Help. They are Atronist Plus SR, Bontril, Voltaren, Pondimin and Toradol. What are they used in the treatment of?

Answer: Atronist Plus SR is not currently listed as a prescription drug, Bontril is phendimetazine tartrate a drug used in obesity and weight loss, Voltaren is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used for arthritis, pain etc; Pondimin is a weight loss medicine now off the market, and Toradol is a analgesic.

Question: Can I get reboxetine, prescribed as Edronax in the U.S.? This medication is said to improve motivation and drive in depressed patients. I read about it in an European magazine.

Answer: Haven't heard of it. I'd contact the manufacturer and see if it is available in Canada or Mexico.

Question: I've always wondered this and this seems to be an appropriate place to ask this question. When one gets a prescription from a doctor, it always seems to be in some strange language. What is the short-hand that is used and where did it come from? For example, I've seen prescriptions like: Some Drug 100 mg PO bid x 7 days Another Drug 500 mg bid x 7 days Third Drug 500 mg qid x 7 days Some Other Drug 500 mg TID x 7 days What do the abbreviations like "PO bid", "bid", "qid", "TID", and so on really mean?

Answer: The first part of a prescription is the name of the drug. This can be generic or brand name. The second is the dosage of the drug-100 mg means one hundred milligrams. This can be written in drops(gtts), grains(equal to 65 mg), or in mg per cc if a liquid. Then comes an abbreviation DISP which means dispense. This is the number of pills or the number of ccs if liquid. Although it could be oz or pounds. Finally comes Sig which means "write this" -these are the instructions to be included on the prescription. PO means per os(oral), bid means twice a day, q day or q am means once a day, qid is four times a day etc. HS means the hour of sleep, AC means before meals, PC means after meals. There is a number of other abbreviations that can be used.

Question: What does b.i.d. mean?

Answer: Twice a day.

Question: My husband brought back some fiorinal for me from Mexico but they don't look like what I get from the drug store. On the bottle it says butabital 50mg, acetaminophen 325 mg, and caffeine 40 mg tablets. They are a round scored tablet , with OHM across the top and 011 across the bottom. They were made by Halsey Drug Co. Inc. and distributed by Moore Drug Exchange. Are they safe to take?

Answer: Fiorinal is a brand name of Sandoz. The formulation of Fiorinal is butabital 50 mg, caffeine 40 mg, and aspirin 325 mg. Your pills are a generic form of "Fiorinal". They are the same formulation as Fiorinal and are probably equivalent.

Monthly Prescriptions
Question: I am looking to find data to get an overview of prescriptions, more specifically monthly prescriptions written on a national level for popular treatment categories-- do you have any information to help me do this? I basically just want to familiarize myself with prescriptions.

Answer: I am not a commercial pharmacist so I can't help with commercial prices-your local pharmacist could. I'm not sure what other information you are seeking.

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