Concerta Generics – Do They Work?

My son has ADHD. He was diagnosed when he was in Kindergarten. I know there is a lot of stigma (still) around ADHD and a lot of people don’t understand it; or they ignorantly think a parent is being lazy with their kids and that’s why they are the way they are; or my personal favorite, we parents claim our kids are ADHD just so they can get medications to make them calmer. Oh how I wish all of those things were true. Well, maybe not the lazy part. I don’t like being called lazy! Any parent with a child with ADHD knows how important it is when you find a medication that works. The worst thing is when it either stops working, or you can no longer take it for insurance purposes. This happened to us recently when we realized that not all Concerta generics are created equally.

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concerta generics

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Concerta Generics – Do They Work the Same?

For years, my son took Concerta. Our insurance paid for the name brand, and that’s what he took. Then, if I understand the history correctly, Concerta worked a deal out with another company to make authorized Concerta generics. He was switched to that with no problems at all. From all of my research, the authorized Concerta generic was basically the EXACT same thing as name brand Concerta. However, everything started to seem like it was going downhill and the medication was no longer working. What happened? How could something that was working, not work anymore? And how can it happen seemingly overnight?

One day I picked up his prescription and the pharmacist let me know that the pill may look different because they switched manufacturers. To be honest, I didn’t think anything of it. I told her thank you and went about my day. Fast forward several months. As I said, things started going downhill. I talked with his doctor and we agreed to try a different medication. This is something NO parent of a child with ADHD wants to do, especially during the school year, but we had no choice. I’d love to say this med change worked, but it didn’t. What the heck happened with his Concerta?

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Not All Generics Are 100% the Same

While the Concerta generics are chemically the same as the name brand drug, they lack the time release delivery system that is unique to Concerta. Remember how I told you Concerta worked out a deal with another company to make an authorized generic? Well, that authorized generic utilized the time release delivery system that is unique to Concerta. So, for my son, it worked just the same as the name brand Concerta. The other Concerta generics…not so much. When the pharmacy switched to the other manufacturer, my son went from having the time release delivery system he needed to literally metabolizing the medication by mid-morning. Ability to focus, went downhill; impulse control, went downhill; everything that was working so well for him, suddenly failed him.

Unfortunately, we are back to trying another medication, however this new medication is in the same family as Concerta. I was not willing to give Adderall a try again after our horrible experience with it. Today is our first day with the new medication. So far so good. Why couldn’t we just get name brand Concerta? With our insurance, if there is a generic available, but we choose the name brand, we have to pay $100 just to have that name brand and then whatever the cost of the medication is. So in this instance, if we wanted name brand Concerta, it was going to cost us $285 a month. Since that is pure insanity, we will give something else a try first, before we commit to that price!

What to do When Generics Don’t Work

After doing a ton of research and finding out that the Janssen/Actavis contract Concerta had for the authorized generic ran out, I began to find out more and more about these so called “Concerta generics”. As soon as that contract ran out, three new generics popped up. Those three manufacturers of the new generics to be on the look for (that do not have ANY good reviews) are:

  1. Trigen Laboratories
  2. Mylan (same company that jacked up the prices of the Epi-pen and were sued)
  3. Impax Laboratories

The manufacturer of the Concerta generic that my son was switched to was by Mylan. Be sure to do your research. Some pharmacies may still have some stock of the Janssen/Actavis Concerta left over, but eventually you will be switched to a different generic as they will no longer be able to get the authorized Concerta generic back. One way to know if your Concerta has the time release delivery system (OROS) that is unique to Concerta is that the pill will be stamped with “Alza”.

We are crossing our fingers that this new medication works for him. Hopefully this article helps you. If your child’s medication seems like it hasn’t been working AND you were switched to a new generic, consider filling out the FDA MedWatch Voluntary Report form online.


10 Year NovaSure Endometrial Ablation Update

When my OB/GYN mentioned the option to have the NovaSure Endometrial Ablation procedure, it was a no brainer for me. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I was done having kids. The other thing I knew was that I could not keep living the way I was living. At the time, I had two small children and being incapable of getting off the couch for 8-10 days a month (sometimes even longer) because my periods were too heavy and painful, was not working. I was 27 years old when I had it and one of the things the doctor mentioned could happen, is that my periods could potentially return before I hit menopause. It’s been almost 10 years so I thought it would be good to give you a 10 year NovaSure update!

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10 year novasure

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A few years after I had the NovaSure procedure, I thought that it failed. However, it wasn’t until a couple years later that I learned what was going on. At that time, I was put on Metformin because I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Unfortunately, the Metformin caused me to start my period again. Fortunately for me, I was able to change my diet and exercise, lose weight, and no longer be diagnosed as diabetic OR take Metformin. Since then, everything went back to the way it was supposed to be.

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10 year NovaSure Update

This August will mark 10 years since I’ve had the NovaSure Endometrial Ablation. I am currently 37 years old and still many years (I think?!?) away from menopause. As of today, I am happy to report that my periods have not returned. Every once in awhile I will have a little spotting around the time that I would have normally gotten my period, but that only happens every other month or so. Totally not a big deal at all. Making the decision to have the NovaSure procedure was definitely the right decision for me! Will things stay good for me until I finally hit menopause? Who knows! Your guess is as good as mine. What I can say is, 10 years later, I am very happy I went through with it.

If you are having trouble with your periods and you think the NovaSure procedure is right for you, be sure to bring it up to your doctor. Mention my 10 year NovaSure update. But above all, do your research. Not all procedures are right for everyone.

How to Set Up the Our Pact Premium App

Do your kids have cell phones? When my kids were younger, I said that my kids wouldn’t get cell phones until they were driving. That changed! Getting them phones earlier has actually been a benefit. There are times I need to be in two places at once, which means one child gets dropped off somewhere earlier. Having that phone makes me feel better. Besides that, having a phone gives me something I can take away. It’s all about finding what’s meaningful with punishments, right?!? However, taking away the phone defeats the purpose of why I initially got it for them. That’s were the Our Pact Premium app comes in.

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What is Our Pact Premium?

A lot of parents joke that they give their kids electronics like phones or an iPad so they have something to take away. As parents, we know we have to discipline our kids and take things away. In order for it to be effective, it has to mean something to them. Taking away the phone leaves kids without the very reason you gave it to them. So they can contact you if need be. Our Pact Premium is an app for both iOS and Android that allows you to manage exactly what they do on their phone and when. It’s a parenting game changer. Goodbye are the days when you collect the phone and take it away for X amount of days. Just turn off what you don’t want them using (games, YouTube, etc) and hand the phone back to them.

 

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Installing the App

It is very important that you read this section. I do not want another person to have the trouble I had installing this app and setting it up. At 9 pm I started setting it up and at 3 am, I was still trying to set it up. Nothing was working right. The directions on their site are a little vague and the step by step directions tech support emailed me didn’t work either. I finally gave up and went to bed and figured I would try again in the morning. When I woke up this morning, I had an idea as to why it wasn’t working and decided to try a different way. It worked! Had two phones set up in less than 25 minutes.

First things first…if you are planning on going with the Premium plan, set that up FIRST. Trust me. Once you have the Premium plan paid for, you will be prompted to download the Our Pact Utility onto your computer. Once that is downloaded onto your computer, do the following:

  1. Plug your phone iPhone into your computer.
  2. Run the Our Pact Utility program and follow the directions on the screen.
  3. Follow the prompts on your iPhone. When it asks you about allowing configuration, click “skip configuration”.
  4. Pair your phone by going to pair.ourpact.com.
  5. Log into the parent app and start setting up the schedules and blocks.

So why didn’t it work before?

When I initially tried setting up the app, I didn’t purchase the premium plan at first. By not doing that, I set up the free account. With the free account you do not need to use the Our Pact Utility program. Should be easy to upgrade from the free to the paid accounts, right? Wrong. In order to set up the paid account, you have to fully remove the free account. That’s easy enough. However, you cannot use the same name for the paid account that you used on the free account. So be sure which account you want from the beginning. I will say, in my opinion, this app is not worth it unless you pay for the premium plan.

Our Pact Premium App Features

You will know you have your account set up with the premium features when you see “access granted” and you can start blocking apps.

our pact premium

Next you will want to decide which apps you will always allow, which apps you would like to block for now and which apps you would like set up according to a schedule (more about that later). The nice thing is, if you decided to block an app, it disappears from your child’s screen. When you unblock it, it reappears.

our pact premium

Once you’ve decided on what to do with the various apps, you will want to set the schedules. On my kids phones, I have all the apps that I do not want them having access to during the night set to disappear at 8:15 pm and stay gone until 6 am (Monday through Friday). Since I would like them to not wake up at the crack of dawn just to watch YouTube, I also set a schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

our pact premium

Another really great feature is the ability to limit how much time your kids will be on their phone and iPad. You can set a daily allowance for them. When their time is up, they are done! I know when my kids were much younger, I was very strict about electronics during the school week. By setting daily allowances, your kids and their device self monitors and you don’t have to sit and watch the clock!

our pact premium

As if this app was already great enough, this next feature allows you to completely block adult content. I don’t know exactly what constitutes as “adult content” (besides the obvious), but I like that there is that extra little feature to help keep that stuff away from the kids. We have the settings on their iPhone to block it too, but as you’re probably aware, things can slip through.

our pact premium

Tonight we were at Sam’s Club picking up a few items and when we got in the car, Bella said “hey, where did all my apps go?”. So the bedtime schedule worked exactly the way it was supposed to! Besides the issues I had setting the app up with my sons phone, I am very happy with the Our Pact Premium app.

Have you used the Our Pact app?


Netflix – Best Shows to Watch

On January 5th of this year, I had gallbladder surgery. While I am feeling much better without my gallbladder, I am not bouncing back as easily. The level of exhaustion I am feeling is insane. My surgeon told me that while I had laparoscopic surgery, I have to remember that I still had major surgery. At any rate, while I work to rest and hopefully get back to normal, I have been watching a lot of Netflix!

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netflix

Why Binge Netflix?

I have been binge watching shows for YEARS! It first started when I was in high school. I was (and still am) addicted to Days of Our Lives. Back then, I would use the VCR in my parents room to record every episode while I was at school. Over the weekend, I would watch all five episodes, fast forward through the commercials (and the boring parts) and set the VCR for the following week. So I’ve been binge watching shows before Netflix was even a thing!

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Seriously though, we binge watch because we like to have it all now. When I am looking for a show to watch, I look to see how many seasons are out. The more the better. I just finished a show and am very frustrated that I have to wait a few months to be able to watch the fourth season. So I do what any other binger does…I find a new show to watch!

My Favorite Shows on Netflix

Below are my favorite shows I’ve watched on Netflix and would recommend to anyone looking for a new show to watch.

  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Scandal
  • Mindhunter
  • Stranger Things
  • Parenthood
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Bates Motel
  • Switched at Birth
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Santa Clarita Diet
  • Friends from College

Out of the list above, the top five shows I think you HAVE to watch now are Hart of Dixie, Parenthood, Bates Motel, How to Get Away with Murder and Grey’s Anatomy. Each one of those shows, I could watch again and again and never get sick of them. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve seen each episode of Grey’s Anatomy!

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Recommended Shows

I keep a list of shows on my phone that people recommend to me. Some I will watch eventually, others I am waiting until my husband is home on the weekends to start watching with him. Those recommended Netflix shows are:

  • Persons of Interest
  • Riverdale
  • The End of the Fxxxing World
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Bloodline
  • Narcos
  • Shameless
  • Black Mirror
  • Glitch

Have you seen any of those shows? My husband and I watched the first 15 minutes of Persons of Interest (we thought we were watching a preview…long story) and we were hooked! We want to finish Stranger Things before we start another show.


When Your Gallbladder Fails You

Back in October, I started getting the worst pain I’ve ever felt. It started in my upper right abdomen and radiated to my back and into my shoulder. Of course I Googled and once I talked myself out of it being a heart attack, I realized it was my gallbladder. So, as you can imagine, I began Googling everything possible about when your gallbladder fails! And lets be really honest here, I was freaking out that I would’t be able to do the Keto diet any longer.

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What to Do if You Suspect a Gallbladder Attack

First of all, I can tell you what not to do…don’t go to Urgent Care. They can’t really help you there. If you are having a gallbladder attack, you need to go to the ER. I sat at Urgent Care for hours only to have an x-ray done that didn’t really tell them anything. Unfortunately, I continued to have pain off and on and worst of all, I was nauseous every single day. I woke up with a bitter, metallic taste in my mouth every morning and getting out of bed took a lot of effort.

How Did I Finally Get Help?

My primary care doctor ordered an ultrasound for me. The ultrasound came back clear. According to the ultrasound, there was nothing wrong with my gallbladder. However, after a lot of research on my part, I found that it’s not abnormal for the ultrasound to come back like that. There could be things that the ultrasound is not able to pick up that is actually there. My primary care doctor suspected I was dealing with an ulcer or acid reflux. I argued because, again, after all my research, it did not seem like an ulcer or acid reflux at all. In the end, I was referred to a GI doctor. That ended up being a HUGE blessing!

Within a few minutes of meeting with the GI doctor, I knew I was going to get results. He listened to exactly what I was telling him and started making a plan. The first thing he recommended I do was have an endoscopy done to definitely rule out an ulcer or acid reflux. The second thing he recommended was a HIDA scan. The HIDA scan will show any problems with gallbladder, liver, or bile ducts.

When the Gallbladder Fails

My endoscopy came back fine. No ulcers and no acid reflux. But I already knew that! The HIDA scan came back with low gallbladder ejection fraction (less than 20%…normal is over 35%). My GI doctor called me the next day and immediately referred me to a surgeon. I met with the surgeon and she told me that she felt comfortable, based on my different tests, that removing my gallbladder would be the right thing for me. Of course, I agreed. It had been over 3.5 months at this point and I was about to lose my mind.

Surgery to Remove the Gallbladder

My surgery was on January 5, 2018. Strangely enough, I was not nervous at all. That is not like me at all. I was oddly calm. The goal was to have the surgery done laparoscopic, unless an issue pops up and they have to switch to general surgery (I think that’s what they called it). Thankfully, my surgeon was able to do it laparoscopic! Apparently I caused a little hiccup in the OR when my blood pressure suddenly dropped WAY too low during surgery. They had to give me a shot of epinephrine to speed it back up. The only problem with that was, when I woke up, I ended up spending more time in recovery because they couldn’t get my heart rate to calm back down. After several bags of fluids and lots of trips to the bathroom, it finally calmed down enough for me to go home.

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Did Surgery Work?

When your gallbladder fails like this and you have surgery to remove it, there is always that chance that it doesn’t help your symptoms. While I was terrified of that happening, the idea of living another day with the nausea and pain was just too much. The very next day after my surgery, I woke up with ZERO nausea! I haven’t been nauseous yet. Yes it’s not been a full two weeks yet, but I’ve been able to eat fine and I don’t feel sick anymore. So I am cautiously optimistic that it worked! One of the things the surgeon (and friends that have had their gallbladder removed) told me was that I could end up with diarrhea for a few months after I eat. Thankfully that has not happened either! I feel like a new person!

I know doctors don’t necessarily like when patients Google everything, but if there is one thing I learned, it’s that if you don’t agree with a diagnosis or your treatment, stand up for yourself. Push for tests that you want done. Speak up to be heard. I went in to my appointment with my GI doc with an outline on my phone of everything I had been through. When it came time to give him my history, I pulled out my phone and read the outline.

Oh and my worries about the Keto diet…I have been eating according to the Keto diet for the last week and no issues at all!

Have you had your gallbladder removed?