1. A recent trend in pharmaceutical sales is from the manufacturer to offer a rebate. These rebate programs come with very variable features. Each can affect whether or not you actually get the refund or discount. For example, sometimes the cards must be distributed by the doctor's office. Sometimes, the pharmacies keep them in stock. Sometimes, the card can be downloaded from the Internet. Sometimes, the rebates will mail a check back to you for whatever exceeds a predetermined amount, usually $10 to $20 per prescription. Sometimes, the rebate programs pay for the difference between your copay and a predetermined amount, usually $10-15. Mail order pharmacies never honor the rebate program, so don't even bother asking. It's confusing, aggravating and time consuming.
What's a person supposed to do? Don't give up. Bring a copy of your current formulary with you to each doctor's visit. Ask for any coupons or rebate programs information. Use them every time you go to the pharmacy. No ticket, no lunch, buddy!
2. I was recently mailed sample kits of Nasopure. I had never heard of this before and this means nothing. The kits contain a sample bottle and some packets of sodium chloride mixed with sodium bicarbonate. The bottles seem relatively durable. The instructions recommend using 1/2 ounce per nostril per day. Recall 1 ounce = 30 ml, this is 15 ml/day or the equivalent of 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon. For me, this is not enough frequency or volume of saline solution to adequately rinse out the nasal-sinus passages. On Nasopure's website, a kit of 40 packets is $19, which is about $2/packet. Comparing costs with other prepackaged salt mixture's, this is relatively expensive.
3. Our office was just mailed samples of Chlorox Disinfecting Wipes. The active ingredients are dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride 0.145% and ethylbenzyl ammonium choloride 0.145% and inactive 99.710%. The Health and Human Services' Household Products Database shows that both chemicals are commonly used in many products. I can't find much information on toxicity from the database, which could be good. One negative is that the versions of this products all have a scent added. There is minimal data on the medical benefits reported in the PubMed database. In bench studies, these chemicals kill influenza A2 and rhinovirus type 14 on their label. For the non-microbiologists reading this, influenza comes in types A and B while rhinovirus has at least 250 types. So recognizing that the wipes can help, they are a lot of viruses that have not been studied. It's not unreasonable to expect that the wipes help, but don't expect miracles from using these wipes either. I can't think of any alternatives, because most other products contain the same two chemicals.
4. I just participated in a health fair and picked up a sample of a new product called "Soothe XP." The ingredients are light mineral oil and mineral oil. These are inert and safe for use in eyes, hence it was approved for OTC status. How does it work? It provides lubrication for the surfaces of your conjunctiva to slide across each other without friction, which is felt as burning and itching. Another, older, OTC product is Stye, which contains "Active Ingredients: Mineral Oil (31.9%), White Petrolatum (57.7%). Inactive Ingredients: Microcrystalline Wax, Stearic Acid, Wheat Germ Oil." This is thicker or more viscous. I have used this and found that it provides longer lasting relief than water-based drops simply because the drops drain quickly into your lacrimal tear ducts and so out of your eyes. Once gone, soon thereafter is the benefit.
If you have questions about these products, ask your doctor... Updated 4/7/09 NK