Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Poison Prevention Week 2017: How to Store Your Family’s Medications

March 19-25th was National Poison Prevention Week. Poisoning is the number one cause of injury-related death in the United States.

According to the CDC, 82 percent of American adults take at least one medication, and almost one third of Americans take five or more. Unfortunately, each year there are 700,000 ER visits and 120,000 hospitalizations due to adverse drug events… many of which are completely preventable through careful use.

At FamilyWize, we spend most of our time thinking about how families purchase and use their medications because we want you to stay healthy. We ask you to please read through these tips and take the necessary steps to protect your family.

How to Safely Store Your Family’s Medications

Store Up, Away, and Out of Sight
Store all medications up and away from children. Be careful not to leave your next dose out on a counter or table. Never leave any medication on a table or counter when you leave the room, even just for a minute.

Use the Original Container
Keep all medications in their original containers with the child safety cap completely and evenly closed at all times.

Monitor Use
Turn on the light each time you give or take a medication to make sure you administer the correct dose. Track or write down each dose to avoid skipping doses or accidently double dosing. Pay particular attention to prescription painkillers and/or medications prescribed for the treatment of conditions like attention deficit disorder (e.g. ADD, ADHD), etc., which can be easier to abuse than other medications.

Practice Safe Disposal
Unused medications should be disposed of as quickly as possible to prevent unintentional ingestion or misuse. Avoid throwing prescriptions into the trash or flushing them down the toilet. Community disposal events are a much safer and more environmentally friendly option (read the FDA’s recommendations here).

Your family’s health and safety is important. For more information about Poison Prevention Week, please visit this webpage.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Four Ways to Soothe Your Headache

Nothing works when your head hurts. Headaches are one of the top five reasons people go to the pharmacy and one of the top ten reasons people visit their doctor. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that almost half of the adult population has had a headache at least once within the last year.

So, how do you make the pain stop? Here are four ways to soothe your aching head:

Take a Break
Sometimes headache management is as simple as taking a break from what you are doing. Take a nap, take a walk, or simply sit in a quiet, dark room with your eyes closed. Many people with chronic headache conditions know that retreating from stimulation like bright lights and loud noises can have an immediate impact on how they feel.

Use Massage
While you may not be able to immediately leave work for a professional massage (though those are known to help as well), simply massaging your temples or the back of your neck can help ease headache pain. WebMD and the Cleveland Clinic both recommend applying gentle, steady, rotating pressure to the painful area of your head with your index finger or thumb. Maintain pressure for 7 to 15 seconds, then release. Repeat as needed.

Apply Warm or Cold Compresses
Depending on the type of headache you are experiencing, a warm or cold compress can be very helpful. According to the Mayo Clinic, ice packs have a numbing effect, which may dull the sensation of pain. Hot packs and heating pads can relax tense muscles. This can be in place of or in addition to over-the-counter pain medication.

Speak with a Professional
Finally, get a professional diagnosis. The WHO’s headache fact sheet (find it here) is surprisingly serious in tone. The WHO identifies headache disorders as dangerously underdiagnosed and undertreated conditions.  A doctor can help to identify the cause of your specific pain and recommend a treatment plan that will work for you. Medication, as well as lifestyle modification, may be recommended. If so, remember that the Free FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card or app (Apple or Android) can help you to keep your prescription drug costs low.

Are you a frequent headache sufferer? Share your tips on our Facebook page and help others stop the hurt.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Five Ingredients Frugal Chefs Love

If you use the FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card, then you already know that a little planning can save your family a lot of money on prescription medications. Well, a little menu planning can also save you a lot of money on your weekly grocery bill!

We combed through some of the most popular budget food blogs to identify five inexpensive (and healthy!) ingredients that even the most frugal chef will love.

Skip the canned beans – basic dried beans might be the quintessential cheap health food. Canned beans have added sodium – and a higher cost – than dried beans, which you can often buy in bulk.

According to WebMD, “A serving (1/3 cup of cooked beans) contains around 80 calories, no cholesterol, lots of complex carbohydrates, and little fat. In addition, beans are a good source of B vitamins, potassium, and fiber, which promotes digestive health and relieves constipation. Eating beans may help prevent colon cancer, and reduce blood cholesterol (a leading cause of heart disease).”

Avoid instant rice, boil-in-a-bag, or any other packaged products; buy rice in bulk. Nutrition-focused budget experts encourage brown rice over white, but most varieties are inexpensive and can be used in a wide variety of ways – just be sure to plan for additional cooking time, depending on your cooking method.

The all-powerful egg is considered to be one of the best, inexpensive ways to keep protein in your diet. Read price tags carefully – some supermarkets will put cage-free or organic options on sale from time to time, giving you even more choices on a tight budget.

Again, avoid the “instant” oatmeal or individual packages and buy plain, old-fashioned oats. Oatmeal lasts a long time in your pantry, provides solid nutrition, and can be prepared a variety of ways (have you tried the overnight oats trend?).

Carrots, cabbage, potatoes, and onions
We put these veggies into one category because at most supermarkets they are all extremely inexpensive (artisanal varieties excluded), extremely nutritious, and extremely multipurpose. Keeping these basic produce items on hand makes it easy to pull together a healthy, inexpensive meal.

For even more ideas, check out the Food Network’s 10 Healthy Dinners for about $10.

Motivated to save?  Make sure you download the FamilyWize card or app today!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ask an Expert: Does It Matter When I Take My Medication?

In our new “Ask an Expert” Blog Series, Ken Majkowski, Pharm.D and Chief Pharmacy Officer at FamilyWize, addresses some of the most common questions consumers have when it comes to prescription drugs and drug costs. Ken brings more than 40 years of healthcare experience to the FamilyWize team, including 14 years of clinical pharmacy experience in retail, hospital, and home care. Read his full bio here.

We’ve all taken a medication with food to avoid an upset stomach. Many of us have also been advised by our pharmacist to drink a full glass of water with some medications. But did you know that the time of day you take a prescription drug may also be important? If your pharmacist says to take your dose at the same time each day, please listen!

Timing matters

For certain prescription drugs, dosage timing is critically important. Here are some common examples:

Statins for high cholesterol

Cholesterol production in the liver is highest after midnight and lowest during the morning and early afternoon. Because of that natural rhythm, the British Heart Foundation asserts that statins are most effective when taken just before bedtime.

Blood pressure medication

The timing of blood pressure medication has been a hot topic in the last year. There are some recent studies that suggest that taking blood pressure drugs just before bed can prevent more heart attacks than taking them first thing in the morning. This is because a majority of heart attacks occur in the early morning hours. Having said that, there are many factors to consider. For instance, doctors often recommend that older patients take their blood pressure medication in the morning, because if they take it in the evening, standing up too quickly in the middle of the night can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure and result in a fall. Sometimes split dosing makes sense (i.e. taking half the dose in the morning and half the dose in the evening), but some medications are long acting or cannot be split. It is critical that you discuss dosing with your doctor or pharmacist before making any changes.

Birth control

While you have more flexibility if you take a combination birth control pill (meaning it includes both estrogen and progesterone), if you choose to take a progesterone-only pill, then taking your dose at the same time each day becomes extremely important. Commonly prescribed for breastfeeding women and those avoiding estrogen, the pills work by making cervical mucous unfavorable for sperm. The effect can wear off fairly quickly. Doctors recommend taking your pill within the same (roughly) three-hour period each day to make sure the drug is effective at preventing pregnancy.

If you are unsure when to take a prescription medication, please be sure to ask your pharmacist for guidance. He or she will be able to discuss what will work best for you.

Here’s to a long and healthy life!

 FamilyWize on Facebook and let us know. Find us at


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Never Pay Full Price for Prescriptions, Rental Cars, Home Appliances, or Cable

We don’t believe in paying full price. At FamilyWize, we work hard every day to make sure that you never have to pay full price for your family’s prescription medications. In fact, FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card and App users save an average of about 40 percent on their prescription purchases.

Here are four other things that you should never pay full price for:

1. Magazine Subscriptions
When was the last time you spent over $20 on a consumer magazine subscription? Hopefully, with the exception of a few specialized publications, it was a long time ago. With the proliferation of promotional deals, magazine subscriptions, and sites like, there is really no excuse for paying full price. Having said that, it is important to remember that many subscriptions may not auto-renew at the same low price you signed up for. Be sure to watch for your auto-renewal notice so that you can cancel, or better yet, negotiate for a better deal.

2. Rental Cars
When we rent a car at the airport, most of us at least compare deals on a travel site like Travelocity or  But did you know that you can also look up car rental coupons on Try it! Many employers also offer corporate discounts, even if you are booking for personal travel, like a family vacation. Check with your HR department to see what is available at your company.

3. Home Appliances
There are multiple tricks to getting the best deal possible on a home appliance. First, consider the timing. Ideally, you want to visit the store when the newest models are being released. The stores will be eager to get rid of last year’s models – opening the door to discounts and negotiation. It is also smart to compare prices at different stores – many stores will price match their competitors and/or throw in free delivery to win your business. A home appliance purchase is definitely one of those times where a little extra legwork can save you hundreds of dollars.

4. Cable/Internet Bundles
We’ve all been there. We pay our cable/internet bill and then hours later see a commercial on TV for a new promotional rate that is better than our current package.  Don’t get angry – just pick up the phone! Most of the time, the customer service representatives are trained to find you a better deal to keep your business, but you have to call and ask. If you aren’t successful on your first call, try again at a different time. You will likely access a different representative who may be more helpful.

Feeling motivated to save? Make sure you download the FamilyWize card or app today!