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Hypothyroid and free prescriptions - why?

(44 Posts)
IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 05-Jan-11 21:42:04

I have just been diagnosed as having hypothyroidism and have been looking into it a bit more.

I've found out that having this entitles people to free prescriptions (for anything not just the levothyroxine) and I don't understand why that should be(it's irrelevant to me personally since I live in Wales).

Is it just prescriptions, or dental checkups aswell like during pregnancy?

skandi1 Wed 05-Jan-11 21:48:18

certain chronic health conditions entitles you to free perscriptions (diabetes etc). think its because some of these health conditions can affect your health in many ways over time and you could need a range of medication to control your condition.

don't think you get free dental but you should check just in case.

Jux Wed 05-Jan-11 21:51:17

Don't know about the dentist, but I was recently dx with this too. I get free prescriptions anyway (ms) so it didn't make a difference to me. I suspect it's because you're going to be taking pills for life and you cannot function normally if you don't.

Actually, I've got no idea and am only speculating. Probably talking rubbish. Sorry grin

You will feel much better very quickly, especially once they've got you on the right dose.

I have my first check (6 weeks) coming up next Monday. The dose will go up, I know I'm on too low a dose right now, but I started to feel so much better within a week.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 05-Jan-11 21:51:43

I understand with diabetes, chronic chest or heart conditions etc, but unless I've missed a lot about hypothyroid (I hope I haven't!), then it seems a bit too generous to me!

Jux Wed 05-Jan-11 21:52:36

xpost with skandi1. She's probably more right than I am!

Catsmamma Wed 05-Jan-11 21:52:49

it's just prescriptions for free.

and what skandi said!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 05-Jan-11 21:53:34

Cross posts Jux - thanks for that.

We're you feeling really unwell before you were diagnosed? Do you know what your blood results were?

I've been started on 75 whatevers (milligrams?) of levothyroxine and will have a blood test in 5 weeks.

My TSH was 77 and free T4 was 9.4

Thevelveteenrabbit Wed 05-Jan-11 21:56:36

It is outdated and historical.
I think it was because diabetes and hypothyroid were some of the first conditions to require long term treatments (or long term treatment was available) - although now there are a lot more other conditions requiring long term medication when people do not qualify for free prescriptions - asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, the situation is unfair but no government has ever bothered to change it.

nancy75 Wed 05-Jan-11 22:01:16

i had my thyroid removed and am grateful for free prescriptions, before i had it removed i needed beta blockers, thyroid medication and something else - i took about 10 pills a day. since the op because of the level of my prescription i have 25mg, 50 mg and 100 mg tablets, i would struggle to pay for my medicine.

MaryAnnSingleton Wed 05-Jan-11 22:01:33

I always feel a bit uncomfortable about having free prescriptions (medical exemption) for cancer (for tamoxifen) It also means I get any other prescription free for the 5 years-so that includes my antidepressants.

Bumperlicious Wed 05-Jan-11 22:01:36

It's also covered under the disability discrimination act.

Jux Wed 05-Jan-11 22:18:10

My thyroxin level was 11 and the stuff from the pituitary telling the thyroid to produce thyroxin was somewhere in the 30s. Doc told me my pituitary gland was really hammering my thyroid and yet my thyroid could still only just produce enough to get to the lowest level of normal.

I have no idea what TSH or T4 are. blush

I have been started on 50mcg, but my doc is always cautious with new pills and he has already told me he'll increase the dose when I see him.

Yes, I was unwell, but it was difficult to separate out what were effects from ms. The strange thing is that since I've been taking the pills (I'm taking folic acid too, as that was too low) I'm not only less tired but have less pain too. V strange.

Nosnowplease Wed 05-Jan-11 22:20:34

It's historical. It's because it was one of the first chronic (as in long term) treatable conditions to be diagnosed. It's madness really.

flinginghasflung Wed 05-Jan-11 22:20:56

I have hyperthyroidism and get medication for that free. Never tried or asked about anything else, but I'm not generally unwell and I wouldn't dare ask for paracetamol or anything on prescription!! I thought it was just for the meeds you need to survive!

Bumperlicious Wed 05-Jan-11 22:25:44

Jux the symptoms from hypothyroidism can be really far reaching. My mum was undiagnosed for years and was really ill, basically her body was shutting down.

Carrotsandcelery Wed 05-Jan-11 22:32:12

I asked my pharmacists about this and she told me it is because the condition can lead you to needing lots of other medications for other conditions which you might not have had if you had not had a thyroid condition.
For example, I asked when I got a "free" pump tub of Diprobase for my skin, which the doctor had given me on prescription. I took this as having nothing to do with my free Levothyroxine but she told me that my skin problems were a common problem with a thyroid condition.
I am certainly very glad of the free levothyroxine as I struggle to function without it.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 05-Jan-11 22:32:44

Its a historical anomaly. My DH has hypothyroidism, a pill a day for life and its sorted. However he has a whole bagful of other prescriptions for high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, all free because of what is in many ways the least serious problem.

If he didn't have the free prescriptions I think theres some way of getting a discount if you need loads of meds, some sort of yearly certificate maybe?

delusionsofadequacy Wed 05-Jan-11 22:43:18

Yes you can get three monthly or yearly pre-payment certificates which save you money as it is one flat fee no matter how many meds you need. (cant remember off the top of my head how much they are though) Also, nancy75 you would actually only pay one fee for all three strengths if you did have to pay.

Bumperlicious Wed 05-Jan-11 22:46:24

I only get two months worth at a time and find it really annoying as o really disorganised as ordering my repeat prescription and invariably end up a day or two without it. I wish they'd give me 6 month's worth. I'd wish it even more if I had to pay every two months!

starfishmummy Wed 05-Jan-11 23:02:45

Jux - TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone is the one you are talking about the "stuff from the pituitary that tells the thyroid......" (THis can be high before the thyroid becomes underactive, and can be a sort of warning that thyroid truoble is to follow iyswim.)

I think t4 is the thyroxin the body makes (but not sure)

BiscuitNibbler Wed 05-Jan-11 23:03:03

The thing is, Grimma, it may appear to just be "a pill a day for life and its sorted" but without that pill your body slows down and down and it can be fatal if not treated.

Jux Thu 06-Jan-11 09:00:37

Ooooh yes, my gp told me you get dry skin, your metabolism slows down so you put on weight, your digestion doesn't work properly - all of these are things I have.

My poor neurologist has been scratching his head in bewilderment trying to treat my pain symptoms and exhaustion, but it's probably been my thyroid all along!

IwishIwasmoreorganised, your levels are worse than mine were when I was dx, and you're starting on a higher level of thyroxin than I have. What are your symptoms?

Our independent chemist deals with the repeat prescriptions for me - it's all on their computer. It gets flagged up each month, they order it from the surgery, surgery obliges and lo! I wander in once a month and pick it up. Bumperlicious, ask if your pharmacy can do that for you - I know Boots provide that service too.

camdancer Thu 06-Jan-11 09:27:01

No government could afford to change things. What conditions would you say merited free prescriptions? Anything chronic? So that would include asthma (inhalers can be as expensive as £20 each), depression, eczema, ibs, hayfever ... The list is too long - and expensive - for any government to contemplate. But if they got rid of free prescriptions there would be an outcry. The number of things a type 1 diabetic needs on prescription is massive.

So while I agree it seems strange that hypothyriodism is on the list when other conditions aren't I doubt it'll change any time soon. I'm very lucky 'cos I would struggle to afford my asthma medication if I wasn't hypothyroid.

sneakapeak Thu 06-Jan-11 11:17:54

Im reading some of these posts and (could be being paranoid) it sounds like having hypothyroidism (even treated) can lead to other health problems in the future??

I thought once it was treated and steady your problems end there, no?

GrimmaTheNome Thu 06-Jan-11 13:52:06

>The thing is, Grimma, it may appear to just be "a pill a day for life and its sorted" but without that pill your body slows down and down and it can be fatal if not treated.

Oh yes, I do know that. But then, the other conditions my DH has - for which his meds wouldn't normally be free - are also chronic and would do for him quicker if untreated. Hence the anomaly.

Sneakapeak - my DHs experience seems to be that the thyroxine basically sorts the problem (once you've got the correct dose, and bearing in mind it may need adjusting from time to time). However, in some people the hypothyrodism is an autoimmune disease and they may be susceptible to others.

>What conditions would you say merited free prescriptions?

A simple answer would be, anything chronic and life-threatening. But that's not easy to define, depression may be life threatening or 'merely' soul destroying.

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