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Differences between acute medication & chronic medication

Do you understand the difference between acute medication and chronic medication? Many people struggle with this concept because it can become confusing. Acute medication is meant to be used for a short amount of time in order to treat an illness or condition that is short-term. Some types of acute medications can be obtained over the counter with the help of your pharmacist, while other types need to be prescribed by your GP. Bloom Financial Services, a leading health insurance broker, discusses the differences between these two types of medication and illnesses in more detail to provide some clarity on the subject.

What is a chronic illness?

Chronic disease is a persistent medical or health condition that one might experience for their entire lifetime and develops gradually over time. Typically, the disease or condition cannot be cured so must be treated or managed to alleviate symptoms. Chronic conditions are often hereditary in nature but can also be linked to age, gender, environmental factors, or lifestyle choices.

Some of the more common chronic conditions include asthma, bipolar mood disorder, Type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, glaucoma, hypertension (or high blood pressure) and multiple sclerosis. Chronic conditions are treated with specialised medication plans that are prescribed by specialists, the frequency of which will vary by the condition or the severity of the condition. People who have diabetes, for instance, are treated with insulin, while those who have bipolar disorder are treated with mood stabilising drugs. The Momentum Health4Me Gold health insurance plan covers members for 26 chronic medical conditions. This means you will receive unlimited chronic medication in accordance with the Momentum CareCross Network prescribed medical formulary once pre-authorisations and waiting periods have been approved. 

What is an acute illness?

An acute illness usually indicates a disease or injury that occurs as a result of rapid onset and is highly likely to clear up in a short amount of time, given the right treatment or medication. Diseases that are typical of an acute illness include fever, sore throat, running or blocked nose, headache, diarrhoea or earache. There are also serious acute illnesses, such as appendicitis, pneumonia or bronchitis. With the exception of serious acute illnesses, most of these problems can be treated with acute medication that is designed to be taken for a short amount of time only. This type of medication can be obtained over the counter following the advice from your pharmacist at your local pharmacy or can be prescribed to you following a consultation with your local GP.

What are common acute medications in South Africa?

Some of the most common over the counter medications that can be stocked in your medical cabinet or emergency first-aid kit include:

  • Aspirin or other painkillers used to treat fever, headaches or body pains
  • Decongestants for colds and flu
  • Cough syrup for a sore throat
  • Antihistamines for allergies
  • Eye drops for eye infections
  • Antacids, like Eno, for digestive complaints or heartburn
  • Imodium for diarrhoea

How do you treat an acute illness?

Depending on the nature and seriousness of the illness, you could choose to self-medicate using over the counter medication or you could book a consult with your GP to get a diagnosis and prescribed acute medication. If you choose to go the former route, we advise using the Hello Doctor App, which is a free online platform specifically designed to assist you with medical advice. You can ask medical-related questions with a quick turnaround time of approximately one hour.

Does Momentum Health4Me health insurance cover acute medication?

Yes, there is an acute medication benefit on the Bronze, Silver and Gold health insurance plans, and you will be covered for acute medication that is prescribed in accordance with the Momentum CareCross Network acute medication formulary. Members are asked to be aware that there are certain protocols that need to be followed. For more detailed information about this benefit, you can speak to a consultant who can outline the guidelines.

Discover what’s available: health insurance plans South Africa

Discover health insurance plans that work for you and get cover for both chronic or acute medication when you need it. Bloom Financial Services is committed to helping our members get the best possible healthcare services with the right health insurance plan. Momentum Health4Me health insurance plans have been created with the intention of being budget-friendly and quality-driven. Contact our offices to speak to a consultant or to set up an appointment to discuss your options. 

Medical Content Disclaimer

You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Bloom Financial Services website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All content provided on the website, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Neither is it intended to be a substitute for an independent professional medical opinion, judgement, diagnosis or treatment.