Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Medications-Not All Generic Medications are Created Equal!

We are constantly using brand medications to treat many conditions.  Many times the brand becomes synonymous with the agent that treats it.  That is called branding.  In the past when we had few options in the way of medications to treat conditions, the climate was better for such branding.  Today, pharmaceuticals have patents on their products.  These patents have a certain duration.  Once the patent expires, any company that has the ability can create a similar medication.  Herein lies the big dilemma-similar!  For years you have been using brand X and getting the results your physician wants for you.  Now the medication is available as a generic.  The use is the same, you are familiar with the indications, dosage, and the price might be less expensive.  This is a very big drawing point-you are saving money, while getting the same result.  Sounds like a winner! But is it?

Not all generic medications are the same as the brand name.  Yes, they have the same active ingredient, but they might have different preservatives and other substances that might not make them work as well for you.  What can you do when the pharmacist gives you a generic other than the brand name?  If your ophthalmologist hasn't informed you that there is a possibility that your next prescription will be filled with a generic, take the bottle in to the next visit.  It is likely that you will have a follow up visit at a closer interval to access efficacy.  Once he is sure that the medication does not have any ingredients that might not suit you and that the effect is the same, you will return on regular intervals.  When in doubt ask questions, describe any symptoms that are unusual.  It is important to you and your doctor to know about any changes in medication.

Remember, just because it is less expensive it doesn't mean that it is better, or not as good!