MEd's changed due to cost

Has anyone had their asthma meds changed because it is too expensive. My Dr's surgery have said I'm not allowed Symbicort anymore as it's too expensive and they're changing me to Fostair. They sent out a letter to me and others, by the look of it, to let us know. No appt to discuss, just that my prescription from now on will be Fostair! Not very happy.

15 Replies

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  • YES! and I've managed to get them changed back. Persevere and hopefully they will relent.

    I am also on Symbicort.

  • Yes - in exactly the same circumstances you describe. I made a complaint and demanded it be returned to my usual symbicort given that as I severe Brittle allergic asthma and am under the care of both a local consultant and tertiary level consultant that this decision of it were to be made about changing my medication would certainly not be made by my GP as a cost cutting measure. I further pointed out that symbicort is the only medication I've had any success with, that it works for me, I'm sensitive to formulation changes (even down to CFCs/non CFCs ventolin formulations) and on that basis they had better return me to me regular symbicort immediately.

    I 'won' and have continued with symbicort, but still followed up with a formal written complaint to the GP and was then asked to leave the surgery if I "wasn't happy with their care", so made a complaint about their attitude too.

    Stand your ground. Tell the GP you like symbicort and it works for you. With that information alone they can not just swap you to forstair. Good luck.

  • Like you my medication was changed without any prior notification from the surgery. I rang and told them that having had problems controlling my asthma (which they would have seen it they had taken the time to look at my medical records) the new medication prescribed was one which hadn't worked and had made me feel constantly sick. One of the GPs range me back and we chatted through the situation. He was very helpful and fully understanding of why the change in medication would not be suitable. I understand that using a particular medication has cost implications (I am on Seretide) but surely if someone's asthma is not so well controlled because of a change in medication to ie that is less suitable, then more medical appointments are going to be required (to see GP and asthma nurse) and this has cost implications too.

  • Same here, Seretide replaced for Flutiform by asthma nurse. Asked my GP to change back but he said no. Believe it is a cost cutting exercise.

  • Yes. same for me. I've been using the new inhaler and it is totally different. My asthma is getting slowly out of control and I'll be arranging to speak to my GP. I didn't even get a letter by the way, just picked up my prescription from the pharmacy and it had been changed

  • If your asthma declines on Fostair (which could happen but if I am honest is highly unlikely) then just ask to change back. It shouldn't be a problem

  • I've been on all sorts of drugs, it sounds as if you don't even give the changes a chance. I was changed from Seretide (which husband has recently been prescribed, so can't be to do with cost) as and now on just about every asthma drug known to man, including Fostair, Montelucast, and Aminophylline. Had a totally horrendous year, spent more time in hospital than at home after i contracted Pseudomonus and have nothing but praise for the NHS. Think yourselves fortunate not to live in the US where we would be destitute by now, I certainly would. Have a friend there who spends huge amounts on insurance.

  • I agree but surely they could gave discussed with me rather than a blanket letter to change the meds I know, through trial and error, work...I have tried all sorts of asthma meds and Symbicort is the only one that's stabilised it enough to lead a relatively normal life, so it makes me reluctant to change.

  • I had the same thing happen to me. However, mine was with Seretide. They changed it to Sirdupla without any prior notice. Thankfully it's the same medication just the generic brand which makes it cheaper. I'm also under consultant care so if I did have issues I could talk it through with them.

  • Having just started on meds for late onset, it seems that Fostair is the preferred option and, looking at the prices, I can see why. It doesn't agree with me (but then none of the 4 inhalers I've tried so far do anyway), but may suit others. However, Fostair contains a different corticosteroid from Symbicort (same beta-agonist), so this is not a case of simply changing to a generic version. I would think you would have a good argument for changing back if Fostair doesn't suit you.

  • Hi you might find it works well for you so could be worth giving it a go. My symbicort was changed to a cheaper generic version called duoresp. I found this hopeless and I couldn't breathe on it so rang the doctor and he changed it back without argument. I know some are happy on it though. x

  • Thanks all for the comments and I do agree with the comments that it might be ok but my worry is that it's a different steroid to Symbicort and that I know Symbicort works- this was discovered after a horrendous time spent trying lots of different meds a few years ago when my asthma went out of control. I will make asthma appt to see my Dr to discuss, I have also got an appt with the asthma nurse for my yearly review, I was hoping to get an asthma plan this time and to sort out stepping up my meds over winter and I'm now on my 2nd batch of steroids since Sept as my asthma plays up every winter. Unfortunately this letter has caused a problem in sorting this out as I was hoping to get the larger dose of Symbicort to try to sort it out, which has a larger dose of Formoterol which the new one doesn't.

  • Hello I had that before I left England a generic for Seretide. Already I never liked the salbutamol and was insisting on The ventolin evohaler. I mean I could buy it in France for 2 or 3 euros so I used to stock up when I went. Though fostair cost 44£ andSeretide 55£ I was told, so I said I was on 8 puffs of fostair at the time because it was half the strengh of the Seretide so they were prescribing 3 inhalers.,who does the maths at the NHS probably the same one who used to write reports full of spelling mistakes.

  • Yes, I was not given a choice even though I argued with the pharmacist that rang to tell me. Put onto DuoResp and was told I had to try it. I have it 2 months and after worsening asthma and pneumonia contacted the surgery and said it was making my asthma worse. So I've been represcribed it but saying that even Symbicort doesn't control the symtoms. Trouble is DuoResp is half the price of Symbicort.

  • I think as a nurse and long term asthmatic with unstable asthma and regular Prednisolone we are going to see lots of medication being changed to cheaper versions not the GP practices are managing their own budgets. I believe there is a cheaper version of Xolair coming out which they'll likely put me on. I was prescribed the cheapest salbutamol and requested it to be named Ventolin inhaler which I get now. I too am under a respiratory team but in all honesty I've no faith in those either. I told them I was coughing up small amounts blood and told not to worry!! by the nurse. Turns out it was pneumonia. No faith at all in their attitude or the fact they seem not to believe you when you know you're worse.

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