Tips for an Easier Life With a Glycol Allergy:
1. Carry an allergy wallet card or wear an emergency ID. Make sure it says that you are allergic to INACTIVE ingredients, and list them, with common abbreviations.
2. READ EVERY LABEL. Do not put anything on or in your body until you read the label or the package insert. This may hard be to do at first, but you are the only person who you can trust to understand how important his is – don’t leave it to anyone else.
3. Tell your pharmacist about your sensitivity – preferably when the pharmacy isn’t busy. You can even ask to make a short appointment to talk about an important issue. Your pharmacist can be your best friend, but know that they are not required to do the work of finding the inactive ingredients for you.
4. Cultivate good relationships with every pharmacist in town. You will not be able to get everything you need from one pharmacy (unless it’s a compounding pharmacy). Many will be sympathetic if you let them know you will take responsibility for doing the homework. Don’t forget the power of chocolate. Rarely are pharmacy staff appropriately appreciated for the high-risk/high-stress jobs they do. Offset the extra work you require with something sweet, if you are able to.
5. Never walk away from the pharmacy window until you are sure you can take the medication, even if there’s a long line behind you. Once you leave the window, you can’t return the medication. That’s the law. If you need more time, get the info you need and offer to come back when it’s not so busy.
6. Expect the process of getting any medication to take some time. Assume it will take several days at the minimum, every time, and accept it, so you can save your energy for research. You need to pick your battles.
7. If you can find a pharmacist that will save the product insert for you, you’ve got half the battle won. One pharmacy I use is small enough that they just put the product insert rubber banded to the bottle so I can check it when I pick up.
8. Find a doctor that understands and will give you a list of alternatives to research. Some doctors are taken aback by this, but once they realize you’re going to do the research and get back to them, they will likely understand.
9. Recognize that your prescriptions will cost more. You have to get what is safe for you to take, whether it is the generic, the brand name or the compounded. Some insurance companies will accommodate you if you accompany your claim with an explanation. Some may require a doctor’s note. Most don’t care – if you’re off their list of drugs, you’re out of luck, but it’s worth a try if it will make it possible for you to get a medication you need.
10. A surprising number of insurance claims are paid if you appeal, and the odds get better if you appeal a second time; however this statistic includes medical claims, so give it a shot if you have the energy, but don’t expect success.
11. If you have the resources, just use a compounding pharmacy. They create the medication for you. It is customized, so it usually takes longer to dispense and it’s more expensive. A compounding pharmacist understands the need for personalized medicine, so that’s a big help right there. You can find compounding pharmacies online if there isn’t one in your area. If you do use mail order, ask the pharmacist to email you a copy of the product insert – or at least the NDC – BEFORE they mail it to you. Ask them not to send it until you’ve checked the ingredients. Mail order is just like the pharmacy window – once you walk away, you can’t return it.