Ask Your Doctor for Prescription Samples (224/365)

You go to the doctor. Your doctor writes you a prescription to cover an ongoing ailment that you’re suffering. He mentions a few side effects. You’re uncertain about taking this medication and don’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive prescription that you might end up not taking.

This is actually a pretty common scenario. It’s happened to me, in fact. I’ve been prescribed things at the doctor’s office for various ailments and the side effects have concerned me. I’ve been completely uncertain as to whether I’ll take the medication for very long because of the cost versus benefit of the side effects compared to the positive results from the medication.

When you’re facing a trip to the pharmacy that might involve a large bill for a medication that you might only take a few times, it’s not really a promising proposition.

In these situations, your best bet is to simply ask the doctor for a few samples of the medication.

Ask Your Doctor for Prescription Samples (224/365)

The benefits are obvious.

You can find out if the medicine works for you without investing your money. Does it really provide significant benefits in your life? Or do the side effects outweigh the rewards? You can learn that without putting up your own cash.

You can avoid paying for something you’re allergic to. My experience with Bactrim taught me this lesson the hard way. I spent good money on my Bactrim prescription, only to take two pills of it before my allergic reaction hit me like a sledgehammer.

If it works, you have the prescription already in hand. You can head straight to the pharmacy and get the prescription filled with the confidence that the medication is actually helping out your situation.

The worst that can happen is that the doctor says “no.” If the doctor can’t fulfill your request, you’re just back to where you started – going to the pharmacy with your prescription. There’s no real drawback for asking.

The key thing to remember is that, over the long run, the goal is to get into better shape and eliminate the need for a prescription. A prescription ideally should just be a tool to help you get into a better physical or mental state where you don’t need the medication.

The next time you’re facing a visit to the doctor and he’s writing you a new prescription, consider asking him for a sample first. It might save you some headaches and some expenses, too.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.

Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm
Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

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