ARE GENERIC DRUGS THE SAME? 150 150 Lauren Ellerman

I am blessed to be one of the many Americans with Health Insurance. My company sends me periodic magazines on general health issues.

This month, An Article appeared called “Are Generic and Brand-Name Drugs Really the Same?” The answer according to the article is YES, they are the same…. oh wait, I read it again. The Answer is YES, they should be the same as the FDA has the same chemical make up.

But with all things, I remain a little skeptical so did some additional research.

According to the website Dare to Dream about mental health issues,

“[…]The journal Clinical Therapy in both 2003 and 2004 noted that there is a difference between brand and generic medications. The journal Hospital Practice also looked at the differences between generics and brand benzodiazepines. The differences can, according to psychiatrists I’ve heard from, be as much as 20-30% in the bioavailability of the medication.

Simply put. this translates into the percent of a medication that can be absorbed and utilized. Some psychiatrists have noted that they’ve had to increase the dose of a generic as much as 50% to get the same effect they would get with the brand name.
As always, medication decisions should be a joint decision with your physician. The more the client understands her needs and her medications, the better the discussion and decision will be.”

So while the generic is supposed to be the same, it may not always be the same. After all, different factory, different standards, shape, size, color. Generics may or may not work for you. It is important to find out if they do before you make the leap.

Dr. Gupta, CNN’s Hot TV doctor wrote in his online blog last week that a “generic drug’s inactive ingredients — things that might affect how quickly a drug is released, the size and shape of the pill” could be different from the brand name.

He adds “If you do switch to a generic and notice you’re reacting differently, there are things you can do. You can try a different generic; there are often several versions of the same generic drug, like a two-tablet version of the same medication, instead of one. You can also have your doctor write “Dispense as Written” or “Do Not Substitute” on your prescription so that you can stay on the brand name, but you may end up paying more.”

Good advice doc.

About the author

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at

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