I was diagnosed with high blood pressure during the scariest of medical procedures. It's known as the routine check-up. Seems like people are always diagnosed with something like that during a routine check-up, doesn't it?

Well, my doctor is always nagging me about not taking my BP meds the way I should, and I know he's right. I take three different meds for my blood pressure and, for the most part, they do a good job of regulating my blood pressure. I'm also very lucky that all three of my prescriptions are readily available. Folks who take Atenolol, and there are millions who domay not be so lucky.

Atenolol is the generic form of the brand name medicine Tenormin. Atenolol might cost you $4 bucks. Tenormin could run you closer to $400. Now, if the two drugs are the same, why the gigantic price difference? No wonder the generic form of the drug is so popular. The thing is that Atenolol doesn't provide nearly the profits that Tenormin does, and therein lies the rub.

Pharmaceutical companies are in business to make a profit, and a $4 pill just doesn't have the profit margin of a $400 pill. Combine that situation with the fact that there are only two companies making Atenolol plus the fact that the drug companies say that the ingredients are also in short supply, and you've got a problem. Apparently, the ingredients for the $400 meds are readily available.

If you take Atenolol, you do have several other options. Ask your doctor if another medication might work just as well. You can also check out the local availability of Atenolol if you go to a website like GoodRx.com. It's also a good idea to visit the FDA's drug shortage database. At the FDA site, you can check on the availability of any other drugs you might be taking.

If you do take Atenolol, you might want to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss alternative choices. No doubt your doctor will have a great many options. It may take awhile to find one that works for you, but it's much better than not taking your meds because you can't afford them.