Obtaining Multiple Western Rx Meds (Outside of Jakarta) Vs. Jamu / TCM ?

Pak Asam Manis

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HeadsUp: This post / thread may be a bit of a dog's breakfast, as I'm just going to throw all my health and medicine related questions in here for now.

Plan to retire back to RI within the next couple of years. I'm 57 and have multiple and fairly serious health issues including: Diabetes Type 2, chronic hypertension, high cholesterol, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease, COPD, fatty liver, sleep apnea, diabetic neuropathy, peripheral artery disease, osteoarthritis, etc, etc.

I'm currently taking about nine or ten different Rx meds daily, plus a once a week injection for Diabetes. I will need to either continue most of these or reasonable substitutes, probably for the rest of my life, OR ("alternatively"), find alternate means to treat the conditions listed above. So I am interested in honest and forthright opinions on the following:

1) Ability to obtain the meds I'm on now, or relative equivalents in Western medicines, specifically in Balikpapan, and rough cost range of same (currently I pay a copay around 120 - 150 USD for a three month supply of generic meds) ?

2) Thoughts on / experience of using Jamu / TCM as alternative treatments for whole body health issues (not counting on replacing my BiPap machine, but otherwise ...)?

If you find the second idea ridiculous / laughable or simply inadvisable, that's fine and feel free to say so, but back that up as much as possible with the reasons. I'm a tree hugging type at heart and I also know that at least half of Western Rx meds with stupid names have active ingredients from wild plants in rainforests etc. I'm really curious to know if anyone has actually tried to go this route, or knows about the experience of others, and if so what the result was. I expect Bad_azz and Atlantis, among others, would likely have some knowledge or input.

Also, if I join BPJS, will it cover meds, including Western ones or reasonable local substitutes?
 

fastpitch17

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First advice, download the MIMs app for Indonesia. You can search this for Indonesian comparisons to the meds you currently take. I take 4 meds (probably because I don't go to doctors) and while all were prescribed in the US, none here have the same name but do have the same active ingredients.

I found that most Apotek accept a letter from your US doctor stating what meds you take. You should also have this letter if you are bringing meds into Indonesia. Bring as much as allowed so you have a little time to find what you need at an Apotek that will work with you.

BPJS does not have an extensive list of approved (covered) meds. Of those meds they handle, must be from their pharmacy and approved each month after a doctors visit that could take all day into the evening.

As far as using the natural route to medication, I understand little about it. I normally shy away simply because of the totally unsanitary conditions in hiw so much of it is put together. With lab produced meds, their are controls and dosses regulated. In the kitchen, not so much. You are right that many modern meds have come from plants but they have for the most part been synthetic now. If you partake of a jamu, find out what's in it. Most have ingredients that are readily available or you can grow your own. Make it at home yourself and you can put it in a nice sterilized container.

Good luck
 

dafluff

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2) Thoughts on / experience of using Jamu / TCM as alternative treatments for whole body health issues (not counting on replacing my BiPap machine, but otherwise ...)?

There is a lot of medical research that indicates intermittent fasting (sometimes in combination with a low carb diet) is highly effective in reducing diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33531076/
https://clindiabetesendo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40842-020-00116-1
https://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(21)00362-4/fulltext
 

Bad_azz

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I notice you mentioned my name but not so sure I can help you specifically, I can only say what I would do if it was me...
I would talk to my regular doctor before I go. I would get a full health check as a benchmark/baseline.
I would have my dr work through all the generic names of my meds and suitable alternatives.
Great advice from FP re the MIMs.
I would also seek out Indonesian doctors living and practicing in the 'States...
I found this Facebook group that might be useful: https://www.facebook.com/groups/388285594516608
(if it doesn't come up as a link- search Indonesian Doctor Club in America ).

I don't take any meds at all on a regular basis other than something for reflux.
I don't use painkillers, I prefer mind over matter with pain management and use hypnotherapy techniques to help with that too.

I love the idea of herbal medicine but I tend to grow my own things organically and incorporate them into daily living rather than having them as supplement powders/pills.
Ginger/garlic/mint/aloe/citrus fruit/mulberries/turmeric etc. are all super foods.
Would I use them instead of western medicine if I had any serious health problems? hmm no, I would use them in conjunction with it, I think.
Hypnotherapy might help with the hypertension - depending on what is the root cause- if it is from clogged arteries then you need to work out a different plan.
(Statins are available here)
In Indonesia you will need to dodge the sugar & fat laden foods as much as possible- not always easy but there are loads of fancy fruit and veg here- if you live in a location that can have a life fed by fruit /veg/oats and grilled fish you will likely do ok without too many issues re the diabetes & cholesterol.
My firm advice though is to consult with doctors who know about your specific conditions and get their advice, then take that to doctors who know about Indonesian medicines and check it off against it- play both hands.
 

Mooball

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Not sure how much you worry about your health and how much you want to live in Indonesia. But with those health issues, you will die younger in Indonesia than you would in a country with comprehensive healthcare. These are issues that need active management by a doctor who knows your health concerns. I assume you’re getting good health care where you are now.

I’m not having a go at Indonesian doctors or hospitals. Many are very good. But as far as the entire healthcare system goes, it’s more focused on treating conditions after they’ve become very serious.

If you have complex healthcare needs are require active management of your conditions, you would be best off heading to somewhere like Penang every 3 months or so in order to keep things under control.

On the other hand, if you don’t really worry about your own health issues and accept and earlier death, that’s ok too.
 

Pak Asam Manis

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Not sure how much you worry about your health and how much you want to live in Indonesia. But with those health issues, you will die younger in Indonesia than you would in a country with comprehensive healthcare. These are issues that need active management by a doctor who knows your health concerns. I assume you’re getting good health care where you are now.

I’m not having a go at Indonesian doctors or hospitals. Many are very good. But as far as the entire healthcare system goes, it’s more focused on treating conditions after they’ve become very serious.

If you have complex healthcare needs are require active management of your conditions, you would be best off heading to somewhere like Penang every 3 months or so in order to keep things under control.

On the other hand, if you don’t really worry about your own health issues and accept and earlier death, that’s ok too.

We have a house in Indonesia which we are currently renovating and in our present circumstances living in Indonesia after I retire is the most / only sensible thing to do. Besides that, yes, I want to be there and for my wife to be close to her family.

I appreciate your thoughts. I have lived in RI for several years and am aware of the overall quality of the healthcare system. Traveling to Penang or KL periodically for checkups might be a workable plan. I agree with you that I would likely live longer in an environment with a more advanced and proactive healthcare system, but the number of years I have is not really that important. As a Muslim, although I have to be responsible for my own choices and so on, my destiny (takdir or nasib) is up to a power and authority much greater than myself, so in that sense, no, I'm not too "worried". :)
 

fastpitch17

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I am really not worried about death coming early. I mean, how do we know if death had arrived early or late? I wasn't in the best of health when I left for Indonesia. Today, I have the same conditions as when I left but they continued to be controled with the same meds I had in the US. One more major new problem here and it was treated and all is fine. Actually, except for all the inactivity the pandemic brought to most, I feel pretty good. Better than when I arrived actually. I contribute that to the large reduction of food additives and freshness we get here.

I am not saying the medical care in Indonesia is great. Maybe can't say it's even that good. I base most of that simply on the medical education local doctors get and finding very few doctors that continue medical educations to keep up or learn something new. I am fortunate to have a somewhat medical background. Certainly not a doctor but I do have a pretty good knowledge of symptoms and how to reseach them and get some ideas of what is needed. I go into a doctors office prepared to help them look where they need to look. I have even demanded particular test and that worked out to be beneficial for me. I cross reference every single medication I have been prescribed to see if it has any contraditions to my other medications. Even after advising doctors of your current medications, they still prescribe things that when mixed can be very harmful to you. Once, a doctor insisted on prescribing an antibiotic for me even after knowing what meds I already took. That antibiotic was listed as not being taken with 2 if my meds and that us should be taken by no one over 60. 3 strikes against it. I didn't take it. I did substitute it after a little research and a trip to my Apotek.

The advise to head to Malaysia is good advise. Their doctors are better trained and most come with specialty certifications. Their facilities on the most part are a whole bunch cleaner than local facilities. The plus side is that the fees in Malaysia are close to the fees in Indonesia. Of course the best care would be in Singapore but that is pretty high priced and cost can be exorbitant unless someone has insurance to cover it.

Check out doctors in your area. Get referrences from people you would trust to have knowlege of the medical care. Never be afraid to question a doctor about their education and what they do to keep up. If you are not Muslim, find a doctor that isn't. From my experiences, Muslim doctors will put their religion before any oath to care for someone. There are a few exceptions though.
 

scouser59

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It is of course our choice to live in a developing country where of course healthcare is a risk and a lottery , there are of course good doctors here , but finding them requires some work and luck .
I would suggest going to malaysia on quarterly basis would be a good choice considering your pre existing conditions .
Good luck with your decisions .
 

Pak Tani

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There is a lot of medical research that indicates intermittent fasting (sometimes in combination with a low carb diet) is highly effective in reducing diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33531076/
https://clindiabetesendo.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40842-020-00116-1
https://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(21)00362-4/fulltext
ohNo.jpg


On a serious note, great advice of dafluff imo.
All it takes is discipline; cut down the time frame in which you eat and lower your carbs.
 

Nimbus

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My extended Indonesian family has several decades’ worth of experience with “alternative medicine”. With all due respect, the vast majority of them are inneffective at best, and lethal at worst. The small minority that actually works is lost among thousands of money-grabbing blowhards, and finding the good ones is like winning a lottery. For every good witch doctor there are easily ten snake oil salesmen, and I’m being optimistic. I’m not a gambler, so I don’t play that game.

I have many painful stories of relatives who died because they decided to abandon scientific mainstream medicine for the traditional alternative. The success stories are typically from “a friend of a friend”.

The consensus among my family is that you go exclusive with alternative medicine only if you absolutely can’t afford western medicine, or you’re in the terminal stage of a severe illness and have nothing to lose.

Perhaps I’m biased because I spent a couple of decades in USA, and I’m tired of charlatans exploiting superstitions for money while attacking well-researched and extensively-tested science. So, read my comment accordingly.
 

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