No one likes to suffer or be sick, whether it’s for a short time or ongoing. An infection, pain, illness or an acute (sudden) or chronic (ongoing) medical condition can occur in any part of the body, requiring a doctor’s care and very likely, prescription medication.

Below are some of the most common medical conditions affecting Puerto Ricans and examples of medications your doctor may prescribe. To save on these necessary medications for yourself and your family, a discount prescription drug card can help.

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Top Conditions Treated by Prescriptions in Puerto Rico

If you live in Puerto Rico, the conditions listed below may be very familiar to you. They are some of the most common medical conditions routinely treated here by prescription medications. Whether it’s a child’s ear infection, or a chronic disease that may (also) be improved by lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising), these are conditions which typically cannot effectively be treated at home with over-the-counter drugs or with non-prescription remedies. They will require diagnosis by a doctor and prescription medication.

Note we have listed them alphabetically simply as an aid in finding the one(s) most applicable to you.

Asthma – Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs that can be managed but not cured. This inflammation of the airways can affect people of all ages, including children. The goal of asthma control treatment is to avoid an asthma attack (which comes on suddenly and can be fatal).

Prescription Treatments: Daily maintenance treatment usually includes a combination of corticosteroid and bronchodilator inhalers and oral leukotriene inhibitors. So-called “rescue inhalers” are also essential to prevent an asthma attack.

Depression – Depression is more than feeling down or sad. It’s a common but serious mood disorder that affects how you think, feel and handle daily life. There are many forms, from chronic (e.g., persistent depression and major depressive disorder) to situation-specific (e.g., postpartum depression or grief).

Prescription Treatments: Antidepressants are drugs that treat depression. There are new ones coming on the market all the time and they may be used in combination if one by itself does not deliver relief of your symptoms. Classes of antidepressants include tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Be sure to report any side effects like erectile dysfunction, insomnia or high blood pressure (among others) to your doctor.

Diabetes – Diabetes is a metabolic disease related to digestion. It occurs when your body does not make insulin (type 1) or does not use insulin well (type 2, more common) to metabolize sugar, an important source of fuel for your body.

Prescription Treatments: Diabetics use a range of prescribed products to test and control their blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetics use insulin, usually delivered via injection or pump. For type 2, medication types include Sulfonylureas, Meglitinides, Thiazolidinediones, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists. SGLT2 inhibitors. In addition, doctors often prescribe blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications to help prevent complications from heart and blood vessel disease.

Erectile Dysfunction – Erectile dysfunction ("ED") is the most common sex problem men report to their doctors. ED is defined as trouble getting or keeping an erection that's firm enough for sex. It can occur when the blood flow in the penis is limited or nerves are harmed or due to stress or emotional reasons. However, ED can also be an early warning of a more serious illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Prescription Treatments: Oral medications are the most often prescribed solution for many men. They enhance the effects of nitric oxide — a natural chemical your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis and increases blood flow.

Heartburn/Ulcers – Digestive distress can ruin an evening, or it can become a regular concern. When excess stomach acid backs up, it can cause chest pain and make sleeping (or other life activities) difficult. It can also be a signal of something more serious going on. Heartburn that occurs frequently and interferes with your routine is considered gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Left untreated, GERD can seriously damage your esophagus or lead to precancerous changes in the esophagus.

Ulcers are open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach and the upper portion of your small intestine. The most common symptom of a peptic ulcer is stomach pain. Heartburn can also be a symptom.

Prescription Treatments: There are two types of medications to promote healing from excess acid. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce stomach acid by blocking the action of the parts of cells that produce acid. Acid blockers, aka histamine (H-2) blockers, reduce the amount of stomach acid released into the digestive tract, which relieves ulcer pain and encourages healing.

In addition to the above, treatment of peptic ulcers involves antibiotics to kill off the H. pylori bacterium in your digestive tract.

Heart disease/High blood pressure – Heart Disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. Diseases in this category include blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you're born with (congenital heart defects), among others.

High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected.

Prescription Treatments: There is a wide range of drugs which help people keep their heart pumping and protected from further damage. Your doctor will prescribe the best medication based on the nature and severity of your heart disease.
To control high blood pressure, specifically, here are the most common types of drugs prescribed:

  • Thiazide diuretics (often the first, but not the only, choice in high blood pressure medications)
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Alpha blockers
  • Alpha-beta blockers
  • Beta-blockers
  • Aldosterone antagonists
  • Renin inhibitors
  • Vasodilators
  • Central-acting agents

High Cholesterol – Another relative of (or precursor) to heart (also called coronary) disease is high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in your arteries. There are two kinds: “good” (HDL) and “bad” (LDL). LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” because it contributes to fatty buildups in arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition narrows the arteries and increases the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease, or PAD.

High cholesterol occurs when the bad outweighs the good. It’s all about the ratio of good vs. bad. Medications can be used to help lower the LDL “bad” cholesterol or to increase your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Prescription Treatments: The most common drug type is statins.

Infections – Infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce. Infectious disease, also known as transmissible disease or communicable disease, is illness resulting from an infection. Virtually every organ and system within the body is susceptible to infection. There are many common and some not-so-common infections. While some infections heal quickly, others are chronic and require lifelong treatment.

Prescription Treatments: There are as many types of drugs as there are infections. Bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections all have specific types of drugs to combat them. Depending on the location of the infection, these agents can be applied topically or given orally.

Pain/Inflammation – Inflammation is a process by which the body's white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. However, sometimes the body's defense system -- the immune system -- triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues.

Prescription Treatments: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are medicines you can take for pain relief. By reducing the level of prostaglandins in your body, NSAIDs help relieve pain from inflammatory conditions like arthritis. They also help reduce inflammation (swelling) and prevent blood from clotting.

In the traditional NSAID category, you may be familiar with naproxen, piroxicam, indomethacin or tolmetin, to name a few. Other types of drugs available to help decrease joint pain, swelling and inflammation, and possibly prevent or minimize the progression of inflammatory disease include:

  • Corticosteroids (such as prednisone)
  • Antimalarial medications (such as hydroxychloroquine)
  • DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs)
  • Biologic drugs

Sleep disorders – When you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up too early, you likely suffer from insomnia, the most common sleep disorder. The most Transient (passing) insomnia is extremely common. It’s usually related to stress and passes on its own). Chronic insomnia affects 15 percent of the population.

Prescription Treatments: There are five classes of drugs commonly prescribed to help those suffering from insomnia.

Persons with these medical conditions should talk to their doctor about a treatment plan and appropriate prescription treatments, and take any medicine prescribed as directed by their doctor or health care provider.

The goal of Inside Rx is to help people living in Puerto Rico (and elsewhere) is to do that more affordably.

Save Money with Prescription Drug Discount Cards

If you’re searching for ways to get necessary medication for a lower price, here’s a solution thousands of Puerto Ricans use every month: the Inside Rx® prescription drug discount card. Inside Rx, the card administrator, negotiates prices directly with drug manufacturers, and major pharmacy chains in Puerto Rico accept these cards.

Eligible persons can simply download the discount card and present it to your pharmacist to obtain the discounted rate on brand name and generic drugs.

Why pay more for the drugs you need to get healthy and maintain good health? Learn more and download your card today.