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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

Plantar Fasciitis – how do you make it go away?

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The plantar fascia is basically a thin, broad “rubber band” on the bottom of your foot.  It holds your foot bones together and gives you a little spring in your step.  But when that rubber band gets stiff, every step can be painful, especially the first few steps in the morning.  So what would you do with a stiff rubber band that needs to fit around a deck of cards?  You’d stretch it gently until it could fit around them, right?  Well, as it turns out, that’s the best course of action for plantar fasciitis.  There are many different ways to stretch the fascia (like rolling a tennis ball under the bottom of your foot) but my favorite method is: the night splint.

What’s a night splint?  They’re little booties that keep your feet at a 90 degree angle when you’re lying down.  This gentle stretching works while you sleep, so it couldn’t be easier.  Night splints are available online or at most surgical supply stores, and cost upwards of $30.  Try them for several nights in a row, and see if it makes a difference in the pain you’ve been feeling when you take your first steps of the day.  Keep it up for a week or two, and you may have cured yourself.

Have you tried night splints?  Still having pain?  Find out what else might work in the next blog entry!This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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