All HIV medications are costly, but Fuzeon is the most expensive. However, most people who need to take Fuzeon are also likely to be able to get help paying for it. Here's how:
Health Insurance: Most private insurance companies will cover the full cost of a Fuzeon prescription. For insurance requiring a co-pay, however, Fuzeon may remain expensive. Check with your healthcare provider or insurer to be sure.
Medicare/Medicaid: Medicare doesn't include prescription drug coverage. However, if you're enrolled in Medicare, you can sign up to receive a discount prescription drug card from one of several different organizations and companies (though in the case of Fuzeon, the discount is unlikely to be enough to make it affordable). Medicaid does provide prescription drug coverage, but the extent varies from state to state, as do the processes you have to go through to get coverage for specific drugs. Your case manager or healthcare provider can provide more info.
ADAP: Many state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) will pay for Fuzeon, but you, your doctor or case manager should contact your state ADAP to make sure. Visit www.TheBody.com/financial/adap.html to find the phone number for your state's ADAP, or call Project Inform's treatment hotline at 800-822-7422.
Patient Assistance Program: If you don't have health insurance and can't receive Fuzeon through any government-funded programs (like Medicaid or ADAP), you may be able to get help through a Patient Assistance Program (PAP) set up by one of the makers of Fuzeon, Roche Pharmaceuticals. To be eligible for PAP, your income needs to be no more than 300% above the federal poverty level, although Roche's final decision on who's eligible for the program is made on a case-by-case basis. Talk to your case manager or healthcare provider, or call the Fuzeon Answer Center (877-438-9366) for more info.
If none of these options are available to you, talk with your doctor and your local AIDS organization, or go to www.clinicaltrials.gov and check to see if there are any experimental studies you can join.
You're Never Alone: Resources at Your Fingertips
Living with any disease is a challenge. Although it's ideal to have the support of family and friends, sometimes it's not available -- nor is it always enough. But realize that you're never alone. Here are a few places you can turn to for more information and support:
Your local AIDS organization may offer one-on-one counseling and support groups. Visit www.TheBody.com/hotlines.html for a detailed listing.
The U.S. National AIDS Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can provide info on AIDS organizations in your area: 800-CDC-INFO.
The Fuzeon Answer Center is offered by Roche/Trimeris, the makers of Fuzeon. The center's hotline, 877-438-9366, is open 24 hours a day, every day, and staffed by a nurse who can answer any questions you may have about the drug. You can also reach the Fuzeon Answer Center on the Web at www.fuzeon.com.
www.TheBody.com contains dozens of articles on Fuzeon, as well as online Q+A expert forums and live chats every few months.
AIDSinfo, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offers comprehensive treatment guidelines and information. The hotline phone number is 800-HIV-0440 (open Monday through Friday). The Web site, www.aidsinfo.nih.gov, includes a live service through which you can chat online with an expert.
Project Inform is a nonprofit HIV treatment advocacy group. The treatment hotline is 800-822-7422 (open Monday through Saturday).
What Comes With Your Fuzeon Prescription?
Fuzeon comes in a 30-day supply; each time you fill a prescription, you'll receive a green box (called a "convenience kit") that contains:
- 60 vials of Fuzeon powder (which you'll mix with water to create your Fuzeon dose)
- 60 vials of sterile water
- 60 large (3 cc) sterile "safety" syringes with retractable needles for mixing the drug
- 60 small (1 cc) sterile "safety" syringes for injecting it
- Alcohol pads (to clean the area where you'll inject)
In addition, the first time your doctor prescribes Fuzeon, you'll also receive a black "starter kit," which includes all of the following items in a plain black travel bag:
- A flip chart entitled "Your Guide to Taking Fuzeon"
- A video with instructions on how to prepare and inject Fuzeon
- A planner to help you schedule your doses
- A small mat on which you can prepare your Fuzeon doses
- A practice pad you can use to perfect your injection technique
- A wallet-sized travel card with tips
- A travel-sized container for taking your Fuzeon on the go
- A guide for caregivers who give Fuzeon injections to others (such as friends and loved ones)
If you run into any trouble with your kits, want to change your syringes or have other questions, be sure to talk to your HIV doctor or nurse. And if you don't receive a starter kit the first time you start taking Fuzeon, you can request one by calling Roche/Trimeris' Fuzeon Answer Center (877-438-9366).
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