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What Is Step Therapy through Express Scripts?

Step therapy is a program for people who take prescription drugs regularly to treat a medical condition, such as arthritis, asthma or high blood pressure. It allows you and your family to receive the affordable treatment you need and helps your organization continue with prescription-drug coverage.

In step therapy, drugs are grouped in categories, based on treatment and cost:

Front-line drugs — the first step — are generic and sometimes lower-cost brand drugs proven to be safe, effective and affordable. In most cases, you should try these drugs first because they usually provide the same health benefit as a more expensive drug, at a lower cost.
Back-up drugs — Step 2 and step 3 drugs — are brand-name drugs that generally are necessary for only a small number of patients. Back-up drugs are the most expensive option.

If you have more questions, you can go to to watch informative videos or call the Express Scripts Pharmacy at the number on your ID card. (This FAQ answer provided by ExpressScripts.)

Reviewed 2015-07-14