Feline hyperthyroidism medication costs

by Joy
(Highland Park, Illinois)

I have a 17 year old cat named Whiskers. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and I have been giving her 1 dose of Methimazole (5mg) once a day. My vet now says I must give her 2 doses a day.

My problem is that I am living on Social Security, and the only way I have been able to pay for the 1 dose a day is to cut my own blood pressure pills in half. This has been working fairly well for me, but now I just don't know what to do.

Is there any generic or alternative medication I can use for her?

Thanks so much.

Dear Joy,

I am sorry to hear about your financial struggles, but applaud you for doing what you can for your cat Whiskers.

Is your veterinarian recommending an increase to two 5mg tablets of Methimazole daily, giving one in the morning and one in the evening? If that is the recommendation, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about whether there is a possibility of staying on her current 5mg dose, except giving ½ tablet twice a day. Having thyroid medication be given every 12 hours is often the best method of treatment for feline hyperthyroidism. Because Methimazole acts to reduce the thyroid levels for 12 hours, a once daily regimen usually means that your kitty is getting an overdose of the thyroid regulation once daily and then nothing to regulate it later on. Without knowing what her thyroid levels are, I can’t say for certain whether this will work for your cat, but it is definitely worth discussing with your veterinarian.

Methimazole is the generic version of your cat’s hyperthyroidism medication, and it is very inexpensive. You could look into purchasing it through an online pharmacy such as 1-800-PetMeds or call your local pharmacy to see how the prices compare to what you are paying now. Also, you could talk to your veterinarian about quantity options from his or her veterinary supply company. Most veterinary supply companies sell bottles of Methimazole in various sizes for different veterinary practices, so a larger quantity bottle may be available to reduce the cost per dose for your cat medication.

Although Methimazole is likely to be the least expensive medication option for Whiskers, I would recommend you talk with your veterinarian about any alternatives. If you discuss your concerns openly and honestly with your veterinarian, together you should be able to explore the best options for your current financial situation.

Best wishes to you and to Whiskers,
Dr. Neely

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