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Brand Name or Generic Drugs: Does it Matter?

To tell you the truth, I used to think that there was no real difference between a generic drug and its trade name equivalent. The active ingredients in both formulations are identical, so I assumed that they worked the same way. Sure I knew that the inactive “filler” compounds are different – but what does a filler do anyway? It’s just there to hold the active ingredients into a pill shape, right?

Well, Dr. Barry Rumack, Founder of Micromedex, Inc. set me straight yesterday. According to Dr. Rumack, as many as 15% of people have drug sensitivities to fillers, therefore raising the question of whether or not people should take an even closer look at their prescription medications. In some cases generic medications might be best for a person, and in others the name brand might be worth the extra cost.

Dr. Rumack explained that he had previously tried to create a filler database that people could use to seek out the best formulation of their particular drug based on their personal allergy and intolerance profiles. Unfortunately, demand for such a tool was too low to make the database worthwhile. Maybe demand is low because people are unaware of this issue? Or maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. What do you think?

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.


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5 Responses to “Brand Name or Generic Drugs: Does it Matter?”

  1. food nut says:

    I switched from a name brand to generic bcp and had a really bad reaction to it. After a month I couldn’t take it any more. I definitely think twice about generic now. Although I did take a generic form of Zithromax recently and aside from the horrible stomach pains (which are stated on the box as a side effect), it was fine.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Brand vs. Generic. Well it makes a huge difference. Generic Trazodone from Europe was horrible, while Generic Trazodone from California (Watson Pharm.) was perfect. It even varies between generics. Plus, brand name Klonopin rocks over the generic. Dr. Charles Lapp and Dr. David Bell agree. They are top doctors for FMS/CFS. When it comes to brand vs. generic you should lean toward brand, unless the manufacturer you work with is in the US! Some of these drugs come from Canada and the potentcy is way off. Provigil 200mg takes 400mg of generic Alertec. So there is a difference. Check these two websites out below:

    http://roadback.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/education.display/display_id/120.html

    http://crazymeds.org/BvsG.html

    Thus make your mind up for yourself. In my case I must go Brand on Klonopin and Cytomel and Provigil.

    Rutt

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is a difference between brandnames and generics/ I sometimes use generics, but I note the name of the company with which my Rx was filled. I well understand fillers. I have asthma and there are a few asthma meds I can not tolerate the generic form, from allergic symptoms, headaches, rashes, sore throat, shortness of breath to meds don’t work as well as name brand. I take each med on a one-by -one chance. I have the same problems w/ vitamins and their coatings…name brand vs generics. Became savy on what you’re putting in your body.

  4. free81 says:

    I AM UNAWARE OF THE FILLER DATABASE I HAVE A HIGH TOLERANCE TO PAIN. I HAD BACK SURGERY 7 YEARS AGO. I AM ON PAIN KILLERS BECAUSE MY CLAIM IS BWC I HAVE TO GET GENERIC MEDICAL WITH I HAVE TO DOUBLE UP ON THEN SO I CAN GET SOME RELIEF. I THINK WE ALL NEED DR.RUMACK TOOL ON THIS MATTER

  5. cherrib says:

    I’m so glad to read these comments, prompted by NPR piece this morning (10/12/07) about Wellbutarin (sp?).? I experienced the same symptoms with the generic minocycline, prescribed for some skin lesions that resulted from long-term use of Norvasc (generic), lichen plannus which is associated with HIV or Hep C, not heart medication.? Horrific depression-symptoms that just flooded over me within a week of 100 mg/twice daily to the point that one morning, I could not stop crying.? Told my husband.I’m NOT depressed, I don’t want to cry, but I can’t stop.”? Skipped the next dose, symptoms subsided somewhat, skipped the next dose as well and by the next morning, I was my “old” self again.?

    I do have a high sensitivity to drug therapy, always have.? The next heart medication, zestril or something like that, produced hacking cough (generic for that as well).?

    I am thinking that generics may be biologically the same, but price and profit may be drivers of “filler” issues that affects HOW the drugs work in the body.?

    This is a problem, as no amount of savings is worth one day of substandard/suboptimal behavior.

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