We kick ourselves every time it happens: We’re on the go—at a subway stop, the airport, the office, wherever—and we get a headache. So we amble over to the nearest bodega and buy one of those two-packs of Advil. Our headache goes away, but slowly returns when we remember that we paid over a dollar for two pills. A 50-dose bottle of generic ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil) costs $8, making each pill about 15 cents. The on-the-go variety costs more than 50 cents per pill. No sense in spending close to $30 needlessly, for doing this just twice per month!
1. Plan To Have Some Medicines On Hand At All Times.
For two reasons: 1) To avoid overspending on individual packets whenever you’re in a pinch; 2) To eliminate the miserable midnight shuffle to Walgreen’s to pick up meds (if it’s even open that late).
2. When You Stock Up, Buy Generic.
The only difference between generics and name brands are the inactive ingredients—the active ingredients are exactly the same. All generics on the market are FDA-approved. They cost a lot less, so we recommend that you always go generic. It’s usually easiest to find the name brand first and then look for the store brand with the same active ingredients. Usually, the generic is right next to the name brand on the shelf.
For example: Thirty tablets of the antibiotic Cipro (500mg) can cost around $175 without insurance; the generic, ciprofloxacin, is only $10. For more info, check out our article on generics, whether they’re safe, and how they’re so cheap.
3. Remember That Meds Have Expiration Dates.
Go through your medicine cabinet today and throw out all expired medicines; popping expired pills is both pointless and dangerous. Then, check out our list of the top medicines that are worth having on hand in advance.
4. The LV Medicine Cabinet Guide.
To compile a list of the meds you should have in your medicine cabinet before you need them, we consulted with an expert, Cherokee Layson-Wolf, a pharmacist faculty member at the University of Maryland School Of Pharmacy.
5. A Few Additional Items To Keep Around.
We suggest that you also have a thermometer, band-aids, tweezers, scissors, and cotton balls on hand. After all, you won’t want to run to the store after you cut yourself while chopping onions. Additionally, we recommend you have some aspirin at home; although it’s better to take Excedrin or Advil for pain, aspirin thins the blood and is a first line of defense if someone has a heart-attack. We also recommend you have some Immodium (active ingredient: loperamide), which treats stomach issues—if you need it, you probably won’t be in great shape to trek out to the store.
And, hey, at your next dinner party, the errant guest who peers into your medicine cabinet will be suitably impressed.