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Hello, thanks for responding. I was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in about 1996 or 1997 with chronic severe ulcerative colitis. I was very close to having to have a colectomy but Dr. Tremaine wanted to try azathioprine first. I agreed. I had a recent colonoscopy performed by a GI doctor I had never met and did not know me. We moved to our new home from the Des Moines area in December 2019. This doctor suggested that the azathioprine was causing cancer and I needed to change my med and possibly have a total colectomy. Last year I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my upper chest and have had a few tiny basal cells removed from my arms and face. I have been searching the internet regarding if azathioprine does cause colon cancer and have found no evidence of that. I am allergic to sulfa so the sulfa drugs are not an option. I am meeting with my internist next week and discussing melasamine as a possible alternative. The new biologics are far too expensive for me and I am in the "donut hole" with Medicare. I appreciate you taking an interest in my issue. Again, thanks for responding.

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Replies to "Hello, thanks for responding. I was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in about 1996 or 1997..."

Hi jgkc23,
About the expense of biologics: Please don't give up on a medication class that might improve your health because you think it is too expensive. There may be ways to pay for it. And among your medication options, there may be one that is covered.

Have you heard about these possibilities?:

Your doctor or his/her office staff should know about ways to get medications paid for. My advice is to see what biologics your doctor suggests and then let them help you see how to pay for one of them, or find some way to get someone else to pay for it for you. My doctor and her staff have been knowledgeable and helpful about paying for meds.

Medicare Part B (not the drug Part D) may pay for a biologic that you have to get in the doctor's office-- like the infused IV biologics. Part B doesn't pay for at-home shots. Maybe there is an infused IV biologic that will work for you. I think your doctor/staff should know about this option.

This is very helpful. A SHIP advisor from your state can give advice on Part D plans and which medications are on different formularies.

Sometimes the pharmaceutical companies will provide the medication for FREE or at a reduced cost.

There are philanthropic organizations that will help with the cost, too. Try doing a google search of your disease to find names of organizations, then search the site for financial support.

If you have a medicare Supplement/GAP or Advantage Plan, it might give you access to nurses who may be able to help you find resources. Hey, you've paid for the plan, so take advantage of the resource. My plan just sent me a notice that they have nurses who help find resources. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I plan to do so. On a side note, the notice didn't indicate that their nurses could actually give medical advice!

If you have already heard about these options, I'm sorry. I hope this doesn't sound too bossy. I hope these ideas have been helpful!

Good luck and I hope you feel better.