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    Lowering the Costs of Asthma Treatment

    Asthma treatment has made great strides, but good care is costly. Here are ways to get some help.

    Asthma Drug Assistance Programs continued...

    The best way to find out about these programs is to get in touch with the Partnership for Prescription Assistance ( or 1-888-477-2669.) This organization directs people to more than 475 public and private assistance programs, including more than 150 programs offered by drug companies.

    Once catch is that pharmaceutical companies only give you access to their own products.

    "If you need more than one drug from different manufacturers, you'll need to join multiple drug assistance programs," says Bernstein.

    Mayrides also recommends Rx Outreach ( or 1-800-769-3880), which offers a similar program for generic medicines.

    Joining the programs can be complicated. Some require that a doctor or nurse apply on your behalf. The company may also send your prescriptions to your doctor's office and not your home. Although the drugs themselves are usually free, you may have to pay a fee for shipping or a small co-pay.

    The programs may also be time limited. "Joining these programs won't give you a lifetime supply of free medicine," Mayrides tells WebMD.

    Everyone with asthma should also be using environmental control to reduce exposure to allergens. But it's especially important if you really can't afford to pay for medication, says Bernstein.

    Some ways of reducing your exposure are fairly cheap. Quitting smoking will help you feel better and save you money. Wrapping your mattress and box spring in vinyl to keep out dust mites can cost as little as $20, says Bernstein.

    For people who are allergic to cockroaches, the best precaution is to keep your home scrupulously clean, Edelman tells WebMD. While exterminators or roach bait may kill the roaches, their bodies may keep giving off the antigen that aggravates your asthma.

    Other measures may cost more up front but be worth it in the long term.

    For instance, if your home is damp, see if you can get a dehumidifier. Although they are pricey, many people with asthma do better if the humidity is below 50%.

    "I know they're expensive, but I encourage people to save up for an air conditioner," says Edelman. "It can make a huge difference." Air conditioners can filter out pollen and other allergens.

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