Generic Drugs

It's All About The G - Generic Drugs, that is.

Americans literally spend billions of dollars on prescription drugs each year. If you are taking prescribed meds and cannot wean off them safely, then consider shifting your focus to the generic medications. Generics offer a better value while still being a clinically effective alternative for your pocket book. In many cases, generic drugs are also available at lower copay.

Generic drugs typically have two names: the brand name and the generic name. The brand name is what the manufacturer chooses to call the drug. The generic name is the name of the chemical compound for the drug. Every drug has a generic name that describes its most active ingredient.

There are two generic options for buyers: generic equivalents and generic alternatives. When a drug contains the same active ingredient as its brand name version and is shown to work in the same way in the body, then it becomes its generic equivalent. The FDA requires generic equivalents to have the same quality and strength as their brand name versions, and your pharmacy typically dispenses generic equivalents when they are available.

The genetic alternative is a generic drug that belongs to the same chemical family as the similar brand named drug. Generic alternatives may contain different active ingredients than their brand name counterparts, but they should work in similar ways inside the body. The generic alternative may be an option if the drug you are taking doesn't yet have a genetic equivalent. Check with your primary doctor writing your prescription to see if a generic alternative is safe for you to use. It'll definitely be cheaper.

Generic drugs must gain FDA approval and they must have the same effect on the body as its brand name equivalent. This means that the generic product must have the same active ingredients and must be the same strength. Sometimes, the generic version may have a different color or shape, but these differences don't have an effect on the action of the drug. They do help distinguish one product from another, though.

The FDA must ensure that all new brands of drugs and their generic counterparts are safe and effective. Doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals report the serious side effects of all drugs to the FDA. Did you realize that the list of side effects does not come from the public consumer, but comes from the doctor instead? So when you hear or read the lengthy list of side effects of drugs advertised in America, these are compiled from your health providers.

And pay attention to those side effects! Actually they are the most entertaining part of the drug advertisements for me. Have you ever really paid attention to them?? Listen up next time...have you seen the ad for a RA drug (Rheumatoid Arthritis) with a side effect of "serious cancers." Most of the antidepressant drugs have side effects of "depression" and "suicidal tendencies." WOW - the next time a drug ad comes on the television, listen up. The list of side effects is more entertaining than their cheesy ads!! But thanks to the FDA, those side effects must be listed for the consumer.

Seriously, you need to pay attention to them because many of your health problems may simply be reactions to your meds.

For more information on generic drugs, FDA approval, and general FAQs visit:

Posted December 2007 | Permanent Link

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