Antibiotics are powerful drugs and crucial in treating many infectious diseases worldwide. They have saved countless lives. Moreover, in some cases, such as before surgery, antibiotics can prevent infection.
Unfortunately, antibiotics can be expensive if you do not have health insurance.
The number and percentage of Americans lacking health insurance are falling to historic lows. Still, approximately 9.2% lack health insurance.
If you are without health insurance and concerned about the cost of antibiotics, this article is for you. We look at the use of antibiotics, their cost, and how to help lower the cost of your antibiotics if uninsured.
The Cost Of Antibiotics Without Insurance
Several factors influence the cost of antibiotics including the following:
- The type of antibiotic you need to take. Newer antibiotics are typically more expensive. Many have fewer side effects and more convenient dosing profiles, so they are also more effective against antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
- The longer the treatment, the more medication you need, and the higher the cost.
- Brand name or a generic drug. The average cost of generic antibiotics without insurance is $42.67, while the average price for brand-name antibiotics is $221.75.
- The pharmacy from which you buy the antibiotics. Pharmacies do not charge the same prices for a drug. Pharmacies with expensive overheads may charge significantly more for medication.
While there is a large variety of antibiotics on the market, some are more frequently used than others because they treat common illnesses and are readily available.
The typical cost of antibiotics without insurance is up to $120 per prescription, but prices can be much higher.
Common Antibiotics And How Much They Cost Without Insurance
Below we have listed some of the most commonly used antibiotics and the cost of the generic or brand name drug without insurance.
- Generic – $41.23
- Brand name – Vibramycin $146.79
Typically used to treat: Pneumonia; rosacea; acne; infections of the lymphatic, intestinal, genitals, and urinary systems
- Generic – $23.64
- Brand name – Keflex $297.21
Typically used to treat: Pneumonia; infections of the bone, skin, ears, genitals, and urinary tract
- Generic – $77.75
- Brand name – Cleocin $207.34
Typically used to treat: Treats infections of the lungs, skin, blood, female reproductive organs, and internal organs.
- Generic – $21.52
- Brand name – Cipro $111.13
Typically used to treat: Broad-spectrum antibiotic, which means that it’s used to treat several bacterial infections, uncomplicated
- Generic – $17.17
- Brand name – Flagyl $257
Highly active against gram-negative anaerobic bacteria, such as B. fragilis, and gram-positive anaerobic bacteria, such as C. difficile
- Generic – $31.30
- Brand name – Zithromax $152.16
Typically used to treat: Pneumonia; bronchitis; infections of the kidney, prostate, urinary tract, sinuses, and skin
- Generic – $116.01
- Brand name – Levaquin $380.63
These are strong antibiotics that are typically used to treat infections of the lungs, airways, skin, urinary tract, and ears.
** Prices of the above with insurance: free or much lower than stated above.
Common Illness That Need Antibiotic Treatment
Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. They serve no purpose for fungal or viral infections.
Common bacterial infections include:
- Sinus infections
- Strep throat
- Respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Bacterial skin infections
- Ear and eye infections
- Certain sexually transmitted diseases
- Food poisoning – salmonella
Tips To Lower The Cost Of Antibiotics
Luckily, if you don’t have insurance, you can take several steps to reduce the amount you pay for antibiotics.
Wherever possible, choose generic medications. Talk to your provider or pharmacist about taking the generic version. A generic drug is not inferior to brand-name medicine. Generics work in the same way and provide the same benefits.
Generic drugs cost less because the research on developing the drug has already been done. Manufacturers do not have to repeat clinical studies to prove safety or effectiveness. Cutting out the upfront research means lower production costs, sometimes up to as much as 85%
Shop around for the best prices online before visiting a pharmacy. You can see which pharmacy or store in your area sells your prescription at the lowest price.
You may even get your prescription cheaper through a licensed online pharmacy. Online pharmacies do not have the overhead costs of paying rent and staff. They are, therefore, typically more affordable than stores.
Look For Discounts
Look for discount coupons available for antibiotics. Search the internet for a discount coupon before you purchase your medication. Coupons can be a significant saving. Some sites offer prescription savings cards and share any available pharmacy coupons to use at your local pharmacy for the prescription.
You may qualify for a state or national medication assistance program. Eligible people without insurance may obtain antibiotics at a reduced cost and some programs provide free medication.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are antibiotics?
Antibiotics are antimicrobial substances used to kill or stop the growth of harmful bacteria.
Humans and animals can contract different pathogens, including bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. It is important to note that antibiotics are only effective for bacterial infections.
Do I need a prescription for antibiotics?
Yes, you do need a prescription for most antibiotics. Different antibiotics fight different bacteria. Your doctor will need to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic for your illness.
However, you can get some over-the-counter topical antibiotics.
Are antibiotics safe?
Antibiotics are generally safe, but like most medications, they can have side effects.
Some people will experience different side effects. However, common issues reported include bloating, diarrhea, and nausea. Some women develop vaginal yeast infections.
Although uncommon, some people do have allergic reactions to antibiotics. A mild reaction includes an itchy skin rash, wheezing, coughing, and tight throat.
An allergic reaction to antibiotics is seldom life-threatening. If you experience unpleasant side effects, you should consult your doctor.
Certain antibiotics have specific side effects. For example, tetracyclines can make your skin sensitive to sunlight and fluoroquinolone antibiotics can cause disabling side effects affecting the joints.
How long is a course of antibiotics?
The duration of antibiotic therapy depends on your condition and the type of antibiotic you take. A course of antibiotics can range from five to fourteen days.
Your doctor will prescribe the necessary number of antibiotics, so purchase the amount that covers the entire course when you buy your medication.
Do antibiotics interact with other medications?
Antibiotics can interact with other medications. Always tell your doctor if you are taking other treatments before they prescribe antibiotics for you.
For example, some antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill. In contrast, others can cause very unpleasant side effects if you consume alcohol while taking them.
Antibiotics are the most commonly used medications in the United States. While there are several options for buying discounted antibiotics without insurance, there is no guarantee your treatment won’t cost you hundreds of dollars.
Getting health insurance is the best way to ensure that you are not left facing high out-of-pocket costs for antibiotics.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes it easier than ever for Americans to get health insurance. Plus, there are many affordable options. Whether you have a low or even no income, you have an affordable health insurance option.
At Enhance Health, we will help you find the best healthcare insurance for your needs and see you through the enrollment process from beginning to end. Call us today to discuss your healthcare insurance options.