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When My Health Insurance Said I Had to Try a Different Medication

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I recently switched to a different form of health insurance and all the medicine that I have been on for years has to get pre-approval before they let me continue taking it. They decide this mostly based on how expensive the meds are. Recently I ran out of Lyrica, which is one medicine that I never want anyone to mess with because it helps me so much. I had to go through horrible withdrawal symptoms including headaches, intense night sweats and a low grade fever for a few days while I waited for them to decide whether or not I can keep taking my much-needed medicine.

Finally, when they came to a decision they said I need to try something else and that I can no longer take Lyrica, which I have taking for more than five years. I burst into tears when I was told this. Lyrica means I can function without too much pain, it means I can get off the couch and do things, it means I can be productive. I was devastated by this news. I can’t go back to how I was before I started taking it.

It isn’t that I am not willing to try a new medicine, it is that I am terrified that it might not work when I know for a fact that Lyrica does work for me. I am tired of having to constantly jump through hoops just so I can feel a tiny bit better. I am tired of having to be told that I have to stop taking or doing something that is genuinely helping me. That is a very cruel move.
It is beyond frustrating when things like this happen. It feels like I am locked in a cell, looking at the key to freedom, but never able to reach it because someone keeps moving it further and further away, making sure that it is still in my line of sight just to taunt me.

I wish people who make these decisions could live for one day in the shoes of someone with a painful, chronic illness so they could understand just how devastating these forceful changes are. Why fix what’s not broken? Why make me go through the hassle of changing medicines, a situation that could be very hard and perhaps painful for me?

I am hoping this works out for the best, but I have been down roads like this many times before. I know hope does not guarantee that this is actually going to help. Behind the hope is a grim realization that this might not work for me and I will be forced to jump through many more hoops only for that little bit of much needed relief. It is cruel to take away something that is actually helping someone. Maybe this will work out for the best, only time will tell.

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Thinkstock photo by Photodisc

Originally published: April 17, 2017
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