Thursday, March 30, 2006

Generic meds

I have about 30 minutes of quiet time, so I decided to post something that's been pressing me lately.

As some of you know, I am currently taking a medication, Dostinex, to get my prolactin level in check. And as all of you are aware, there is such a thing as generic medication. I've learned a lot about generic meds and it isn't exactly the way it's presented to us by pharmacies and insurance companies.

The first month I was on Dostinex, I felt great. Dostinex, if I understand correctly affects the dopamine level in the brain. After my first month, I decided to go to the generic brand. My doctor frowns on generic but I begged him and he complied, provided I come in for a blood test to be sure it is working. Within the first week of being on the generic brand, I have felt really depressed. I thought it was because I was going get my "monthly visitor" but even after I was depressed. I'm still depressed. So, I'm going to switch back to see if it changes.

So, how are generic drugs different you ask....

Well, the active ingredient is identical. It's the dosage that varies. The FDA says that as long as the bioavailability of the drug is within 20% + or - the stated dosage, then it can be approved. What that means is if you have a bottle of 100 mg of Anaprox, you will actually have 100 mg (give or take 1 or 2 %) but 100 mg of naproxin may actually be 80 mg or 120 mg.

The pharmacy actually puts out for bids so whichever drug manufacturer offers the best deal, the pharmacy buys. What that means is that when you get your generic drug one month, the next month it could be from a different place. And, since I'm paying cash for this stuff, I'm not insured, I noticed that the generic version was really only slightly less than the brand version. The pharmacy makes a lot off the generic brand. The price it high enough to make a good profit but make it just low enough to entice you to buy it instead of the brand name.

I will let you guys know how I feel when I go back onto the name brand version of dostinex.


Freebird said...

Hope you're feeling better soon. I'm sure it can get costly, but when it comes to your health (esp mental health) it's worth the few extra dollars. Have a good weekend. Do something fun.

A Girl From Texas said...

I hope so. THis is why I haven't been posting and my business this month is affected too. All I want to do is go home and sleep and cry. I hate feeling this way. So, my fingers are crossed that when I switch, I'll feel better.

Chris said...

Body chemistry is a funky thing. Good luck with that.

Cathy said...

gft, I'm sorry you are having a hard time. I'm going through something similar and I think your post may have helped me understand why. I take a drug for my Meniere's. Last month my insurance decided they would only pay for the generic brand in the future.

The minute I started the generic my symptoms worsened. I have daily vertigo, foggy brain and due to that some depression also.

I was blaming the worsened symptoms on allergies but after reading this post now I'm wondering if it's not the difference in the name brand and generic drug.

Thanks for posting about this. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the switch means a relief of symptoms for you also.

A Girl From Texas said...

It's not in your head. I'm a firm believer that generic drugs are a scam. I think that more people need to know and understand the difference.

A Girl From Texas said...

Ok, not quite a scam....that's a bit overblown.

I think my point is that we're not getting all the facts about generic drugs and that they are being pushed on us without regard to effictiveness in therapeutical applications.

So, no, they are not a scam.