Why is Vraylar So Expensive & Bipolar I Treatment Alternatives
Vraylar, an effective atypical antipsychotic medication, is (to put it mildly) a costly medication.
It’s not uncommon for American patients to pay nearly $1,500.00 for a thirty-count bottle. If you do the math, you’ll see that taking this medication costs thousands of dollars per year.
Why is Vraylar so expensive? And are there ways to reduce that price? For example – is there a generic for Vraylar, or alternatives to Vraylar that can make it more accessible to those who need it?
You’ll find the answers to these questions and more in this helpful guide.
Understanding Vraylar: Its Uses and Benefits
Before we talk about why Vraylar costs so much, it's essential to understand what Vraylar is and why it's prescribed.
What is Vraylar?
Vraylar (cariprazine) is a brand-name atypical antipsychotic medication.
This class of medications gets its name from the fact that it’s a second generation of antipsychotic meds (which, themselves, were referred to as “typical antipsychotics.”) Atypical antipsychotics tend to have a broader range of efficacy; where typical antipsychotics act on the dopamine system, atypical ones work on serotonin, norepinephrine, and histamine transmission as well.
Vraylar treats bipolar depression, schizophrenia in adults, and mixed or manic episodes associated with these conditions.
How Does Vraylar Work?
Vraylar works by modulating the way your brain receptors work – specifically, the brain receptors that work with dopamine and serotonin.
When taking Vraylar, typically, patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia notice reduced delusions, hallucinations, agitation, mania, disorganized thinking, and even depression.
Most of the time, Vraylar works quite well; it’s a generally well-tolerated treatment. Sometimes, however, it may cause side effects. These side effects may include:
- Weight gain
In some rare circumstances, Vraylar can lead to seizures, movement disorders, or other severe and worrisome conditions (like neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a rare condition that comes with a fever, altered mental status, and muscle rigidity). If you notice any symptoms other than the ones listed above or if the above side effects are particularly unpleasant, talk to your doctor to see if you need to consider an update to your treatment plan.
How Much Does Vraylar Cost?
For American patients, Vrayalr can cost over $1,400.00 for a 30-day supply.
That’s without insurance, of course. If you have insurance, you may be lucky enough to get coverage for your Vraylar—in which case, you may only pay a co-pay or co-insurance for your medication.
However, that’s not the ironclad solution you may think it is.
First of all, you may not have insurance. (And even if you do, remember, it’s surprisingly easy to lose your insurance, especially if it’s tied to your employer, which is the norm in America.)
Second, if you have insurance and Vraylar is a covered medication, that may not be permanent, either. Insurance companies are constantly reassessing their lists of covered medications to find ways to save money. The more expensive a medication is, the more likely it is to be on the chopping block.
Vraylar is exceedingly expensive. If you’re relying on your insurance to cover it for you or a loved one, it may be a good idea to consider alternative methods for saving.
For example, if you buy your medication online through a Canada pharmacy website like NorthWestPharmacy.com, you can buy the same 30-day supply of brand-name Vraylar for around $275.00 – or savings of up to 80%.
The Cost Factor: Why is Vraylar So Expensive?
80% savings is an incredible margin.
Why is Vraylar so very expensive in America?
There’s a range of reasons. For one, it’s a newer, brand-name medication. For another, it’s relatively difficult to manufacture; to make it, you need specialized equipment, expertise, and specific ingredients.
However, those aren’t the only reasons the price of Vraylar in America is sky-high. There are others.
Let's explore them in detail.
The Absence of Generic Vraylar
Right now, Vraylar is only available as a brand-name drug. The patent for Vraylar doesn’t expire until 2029, and it’ll be a while after that before generic versions are approved and ready to go. This means that drug manufacturers can’t make generic versions right now. As a result, Vraylar doesn’t have any competition. This allows Vraylar’s manufacturer to charge what it wants for this drug.
Unregulated American Drug Prices
Without competition in the pharmaceutical marketplace to keep prices low, there isn’t much to tamp down medication drug gouging.
In many countries, the government can step in and cap the amount of money a drug company can charge for life-changing and life-saving medications.
The United States is not one of those countries.
Canada is. In Canada, Health Canada and the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board regulate Canada’s drugs prices and how much companies can charge for patented drugs. That’s why Vraylar in America is nearly $1,500.00 for a one-month supply, while in Canada the same amount of medication is available for around $300.00.
Until Vraylar is available as a generic medication, which may not be for several years, it’s a good idea to look at Vraylar alternatives or consider ways to save on this medication.
In the following two sections, we’ll look at both options.
Vraylar Alternatives: Other Bipolar I Treatment Options
Vraylar is an effective and popular treatment option, but it’s not the only one available.
Here are a few other common medications that can be excellent choices for those who need treatment for bipolar disorder.
Latuda (lurasidone) is another atypical antipsychotic medication that can effectively reduce the symptoms associated with schizophrenia and bipolar depression, which may include mood swings, changes in sleep and energy levels, and irritability.
Some patients observe reduced metabolic side effects with Latuda compared to those associated with other antipsychotic medication options. That doesn’t mean you won’t experience weight gain, drowsiness, or other possible effects when starting Latuda. If you’re interested in Latuda or any medication on this list, discussing risks and side effects with your doctor before getting a prescription is critical.
How Much Does Latuda Cost?
You can buy Latuda through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $9.20 per pill.
Lamictal (lamotrigine) is an anticonvulsant medication.
Anticonvulsants are usually prescribed to treat seizures, while antipsychotics like Latuda and Vraylar treat symptoms of psychosis. Whether you need Lamictal will be determined by the way your bipolar disorder presents.
Lamictal can be very effective for people who need help managing seizures or anxiety symptoms, but it can come with side effects such as severe skin rashes. Your doctor can help you determine whether Lamictal is a good option for you.
How Much Does Lamictal Cost?
You can buy Lamictal through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $1.00 per pill.
Abilify and Abilify Maintena
Abilify (aripiprazole) and Abilify Maintena (aripiprazole vial for reconstitution) are two forms of the same atypical antipsychotic medication, often used for treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Abilify Maintena is the long-acting injectable form of the drug, which can be an excellent option for patients who have difficulty remembering to take their medications on time.
Abilify can cause sleepiness and weight gain and can interact with other medications. Ensure your doctor knows about all the medications you may be taking before starting Abilify.
How Much Do Abilify and Abilify Maintena Cost?
Eskalith (Lithium Carbonate)
Eskalith (lithium carbonate) is a mood stabilizer. For many years, patients managing bipolar disorder have used Eskalith to reduce their symptoms, including those associated with both mania and depression.
One thing to know about Eskalith is this: If you take Eskalith, you’ll likely need to commit to regular blood tests to monitor its levels in your blood. This can help you monitor and avoid side effects, but it is something to remember.
How Much Does Eskalith Cost?
You can buy generic Eskalith through NorthWestPharmacy.com for about $0.25 per pill.
Which Medication is Right for You?
Understanding which of these options is best suited for your symptoms and lifestyle will require the assistance of a healthcare professional. When you talk to your doctor or healthcare practitioner, they’ll want to know about your specific symptoms, medical history, concerns, and preferences.
These aren’t the only drugs that can treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. There are other types of antipsychotic medications, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers that may be good resources for you at this time. Your doctor may also recommend therapy, lifestyle changes, or other strategies (perhaps in combination with prescription medications) that could help increase your quality of life.
Ways to Save on Vraylar
If you and your doctor have developed a care plan that works for you and includes regular Vraylar use, you will need to find a way to access and afford it in a way that works for your family’s budget.
Here are two possible options.
Copay and Savings Programs for Vraylar
There are programs out there that are specifically designed to help people afford Vraylar. And the manufacturer has one such program.
If you can qualify for one of these programs, great – but they don’t really solve your problem. They may reduce or mitigate costs for a while, but at some point, these programs will end, or they may not reduce the price enough to make a difference for your finances.
If you and your doctor think you can qualify, it may be worth pursuing, even if it’s just to give you some time to figure out other solutions. Your doctor can help you locate and apply for the best programs.
Ordering from International and Canadian Pharmacies
Earlier, we discussed the fact that the United States doesn’t have pharmaceutical price regulation.
Canada does, as do most other countries. This means you may be able to buy Vraylar internationally for far less than you’d be able to find it for in the States.
Buying medication internationally may sound complicated, but it’s far more straightforward than you think. Online international and Canadian pharmacies can make it easier to buy medication online than it would be at your brick-and-mortar store. As long as you ensure that the pharmacy you choose is legitimate, licensed, and reputable, you can expect to buy high-quality, safe medications online and internationally for far less than you would in the United States.
Navigating the Cost of Bipolar I Treatment
While the cost of Vraylar can be overwhelming, understanding the reasons behind its pricing and exploring alternatives can help patients make informed decisions.
That won’t always be easy. Most online pharmacy storefronts you’ll see are difficult to navigate, hide prices multiple clicks deep, and don’t provide potential consumers the information they need to make knowledgeable decisions about their healthcare.
But at NorthWestPharmacy.com, we prioritize your ease (and your peace of mind). Whether you're a tech-savvy individual who loves browsing or prefers the personal touch of a phone call, we've got you covered. Our platform is designed for simplicity, ensuring that from selection to checkout, your experience is seamless.
Wondering how it works? All you need to do is obtain a valid, updated prescription from your doctor, send it our way, shop through our organized, easy-to-navigate site, and check out through our safe, private payment portal.
It really is that simple. One of our customers recently remarked:
“NorthWestPharmacy makes it easier to get the meds my doctor prescribed & their prices are better than anywhere else I have found. I am thankful my doctor gave me their website.”
Want to experience what it’s like to buy prescription medications online through NorthWestPharmacy.com yourself?
Give our team a call at 1.866.539.5330 to ask any questions you may have (or even place your order over the phone). We look forward to supporting a smooth and stress-free prescription-purchasing experience.