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Epilepsy charity issues emergency information for hurricane katrina evacuees

8 September, 2005

The Epilepsy Foundation of America
(EFA) has issued advice for people with the condition who have been
displaced by Hurricane Katrina and need access to anti-epileptic
medication.

The
organisation acknowledges that access to medication can be a
life-and-death issue for people with epilepsy due to the potential for
seizures when drug levels in the blood fall below therapeutic levels.
Many people in the region have neither access to critically needed
seizure medications nor information on how to obtain them.

The Red Cross,
through its local chapters and emergency shelters, is cited as a
primary source of medication assistance. They can help provide access
to medications to meet the immediate needs of affected persons. In some
localities, the Red Cross has arrangements with local clinics where
people can be referred to doctors who will provide needed
prescriptions. The EFA advises that, if available, people should
provide the Red Cross disaster health representatives with
prescriptions, physician contact information and other medical
documentation.

In addition:

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were, at the time the advice by the EFA was issued, preparing special instructions for access to emergency medications.
  • Medco,
    a major mail order supplier of medications, has made arrangements with
    local pharmacies nationwide that will make it easier for its members
    who may be dislocated to obtain medication. Medco members with
    questions should call the customer service number on the back of their
    membership identification card.

Displaced
individuals with memberships of other mail order services should check
with their medications service and area pharmacies to see if there are
similar arrangements in place. If a dislocated individual has purchased
medications through a drug store chain, the person should go to another
location of that chain to find out if the prescription information is
available through the drug store's computer database. If it is, the
prescription can be filled at the new location.