Thursday, July 10, 2008

Be Prepared: Prescription Medicine

One over looked area of preparation is prescription medicine. Millions of Americans are on some kind of medication prescribed by a doctor. Those medicines can be classified in three categories with relation to short term preparedness.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor...consult your doctor on what category your meds fall into.

1.) Medicine I will die if I don't have
2.) Medicine that keeps me healthy and may affect me if I am without it long term
3.) Medicine that ultimately I could live without.

Medicine I will die if I don't have - this one is fairly easy to describe, a few examples would be insulin for diabetics, anti-rejection drugs for transplant patients and Nitro pills for people with heart problems. There are many other types of these medicines which help people regulate systems in their bodies that may ultimately fail without them. Medicines in this category should be stockpiled for 30 days if possible. Keep in mind when I say stockpile I mean IN ADDITION to whatever you normally have on hand. I would not have LESS than 2 weeks worth stockpiled under any circumstances. Keep in mind with medicine like insulin may need special storage or refrigeration. (That is a persuasive arguement for getting a generator if I ever heard one).

Medicine that keeps me healthy and may affect me if I am without it long term - medicines in this category would be medicines you take to help a chronic conditions like hepatitis, severe high blood pressure or any chronic condition. You would most likely not die if you stopped taking it for a few weeks. I would have 2 weeks worth on hand at any given time, more if possible.

Medicine that ultimately I could live without. - This would be medicine you take for what I call "issues". My meds fall into this category. I take Lipitor for high cholesterol, I could manage it with diet and exercise but I have been lazy about it. My wife reminds me of this all the time...I could live just fine without taking this medicine. In a real SHTF scenario where western civilization collapses I am glad I take meds in this category. I do keep 30 days worth of this on hand (in addition to my normal prescription) just in case.

How do I stockpile meds?
One way to make sure you have an ample supply is to use mail order prescriptions. Most of these are filled for 90 days. My cheap insurance company won't allow this, they only pay for a 30 day supply at a time...I found a way around this. I simply went to my doctor and told him what I wanted to do. I said this is hurricane country and I would like to have some extra medicine available in case the pharmacies are not available. He felt that was a reasonable request and provided me with 30 days worth of samples. I keep this fresh by rotating the old pills with the new ones I get every time I renew my prescription. You will find that if you are honest with your doctor they will most likely accommodate your request.

Make sure if you take prescription meds that are needed to live you make some arrangements and get yourself an extra supply in case services are disrupted. Always remember to rotate the meds so the freshest are in the stockpile.

...that is all.

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  1. I'm in my late fifties and so far don't use any prescription drugs. I do try to eat a healthy diet and get lots of exercise.


  2. Good post - I try to order in 90 day batches, but my insurance takes a dim view of that.

  3. I make it a habit to ask for repeats if i'm ever prescribed anti-biotics. I'm susceptible to serious chest infections and I have no doubt that without medications I'd be in a world of hurt.

    Riverwalker has the right idea - eat healthy and exercise regularly. How few people follow that simple prescription? I was talking to a serious athlete (just short of the big stage) and was asking how come the pro's recover real quick from serious injury whereas I take 6 months. He said that it has been his experience that the very fit recover quicker than the unfit (sigh that'd be me at the moment but i'm working on it).