Timothy C. Hain, MD
Please read our disclaimer Return to Index. Page last modified: July 21, 2016
Betahistine is a treatment for dizziness and hearing problems. It has a strange history and in the United States, Serc is in the possibly unique position of being a substance categorized as a placebo by the FDA, that nevertheless is generally obtained by taking an ordinary prescription to the pharmacy and getting it filled. See the main Betahstine page if you are wondering what this is all about.
While in the past it was somewhat difficult to obtain betahistine, now it can be purchased easily at Walgreens' pharmacies. The cost at Walgreens is variable, but sometimes reasonable, and in our experience, roughly 1/3 of the price at the compounding pharmacies where one used to have to go. However, as of 2015, this seems to be changing and Walgreens is getting far more expensive. This must be a marketing decision because betahistine has not changed for about 50 years.
The process at Walgreens is that you take in your prescription to the pharmacy. When the technician at the front desk says that they don't carry it, ask for it to be special ordered through the Walgreens compounding service. This usually works very well.
Sometimes Walgreens clerks or pharmacists will claim that they have "never heard of Serc". This does not mean that Walgreens' doesn't carry Serc -- it means that the clerk is uninformed. Here, we suggest that you politely ask for the "compounding pharmacist", and suggest to them that if they can't figure it out, to call a Walgreens branch that knows how to do this. In Chicago, the hospital Walgreens pharmacy across the street from our practice is one such place (312-951-1084).
In the Chicago, Illinois area, betahistine is also available from many compounding pharmacies:
Keefer's pharmacy Martin Avenue Pharmacy
W. Prospect Ave. 10 W. Martin Ave
Mt. Prospect IL, 60056 Naperville, IL 60540
847-253-1031, 847-255-3220 630-355-6400, 630-355-6522
101 W. Vallette St
Elmhurst, IL 60126
630-834-1223, 630-834-6643 (f)
South Bend, Mar-Main Pharmacy (574-234-3184)
Crown Point Indiana, Custom Dosing Pharmacy, (219-662-5602)
The cost from these sources is about $50/100 capsules. Other compounding pharmacies that I have been told about also can make up Betahistine. At the Martin Avenue Pharmacy, at least one patient managed to get it covered by his insurance, and the cost for a large dose went from $100 to $10/month.
National Compounding Pharmacies.
Westlab Pharmacy in
Recently (2015) our patients have told us that prices have gone up remarkably at Westlab for Betahistine. Gainesville Fla., 1-800-493-7852, FAX 352-373-8099, Info@westlabpharmacy.com, $39.99/100 8mg pills and $68.99 for 100 16 mg pills.
Pharmacy Innovations is another large compounding pharmacy chain that we are told carries Betahistine.
Serc (betahistine) can easily be obtained from pharmacies outside the US, because it is often available over the counter. This form of Serc comes in commercial tablets in little blister packets, instead of in gelatin capsules made up individually by the compounding pharmacist. It seems likely that this source may be more consistent than that available in compounding pharmacies, and also it may be less costly. As recent recommendations for betahistine are for quite high doses (i.e. 48 mg three times/day), cost can be a big issue.
Disclaimer: The author of this web page does not know if the off-shore sources of betahistine are legitimate or not, and this is clearly a "buyer beware" situation.
There are multiple overseas (i.e. outside of US) sources of Betahistine (most recent at end).
Murray Shore pharmacy in Toronto. 800-201-8590. www.mshorepharmacy.com. $36.00 plus shipping and setup fee.
Murray Shore pharmacy a patient needs to fax the prescription and give a credit card number over the phone. There is a Federal Express fee on top of the charge for the medication, and a one-time $10.00 charge for him to set up an account.
2. ADV-CARE Pharmacy in
at 1-877-948-0464. 70 Esna Park,
Markham, Ontario, Tel: (416) 410-9222 or (905) 948-1991, $35/100 8mg pills plus mailing costs.
3. Canadadrugs (http://www.canadadrugs.com), sells generic 16 mg Betahistine for $35.81.
4. Rx Canada Direct
1-877-2268769; 23541 Ford Rd, Ste A Dearborn, MI 48128
Some of our patients recommend this source for betahistine.