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Thread: Generics and store brands can be very useful

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    Generics and store brands can be very useful

    I have found (thankfully!) that it is not necessary to pay top dollar for pharmaceuticals in order to get top-notch results.

    A few years ago, I fractured my left leg in several places. I really did not do anything to cause it; I simply got out of bed one morning, and, upon standing up, my leg suddenly crumbled.

    An ambulance took me to the hospital, where I stayed for four days. A cast was placed over my leg.

    Several months later, my doctor urged me to have a DEXA scan (which is, basically, just doctor-speak for an X-ray of the bones). The scan revealed the presence of "osteopenia," which my doctor described as a way station, on the way to full-blown osteoporosis.

    She prescribed Fosomax tablets, plus over-the-counter calcium plus vitamin D.

    Since then, I have been receiving generic Fosomax (more precisely known as alendronate sodium) from my mail-order provider, which I take once a week; and store-brand calcium plus vitamin D from Walmart, which I take twice a day, six days a week (but not on Sunday, when I take the generic Fosomax, as they interact badly with each other).

    The result?

    When I recently had another DEXA scan, the result was superb. My doctor informed me that the osteopenia had not only been arrested, but reversed! There is no remaining trace of it.

    Like I said, no need to pay top dollar in order to receive excellent results...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pjohns View Post
    I have found (thankfully!) that it is not necessary to pay top dollar for pharmaceuticals in order to get top-notch results.

    A few years ago, I fractured my left leg in several places. I really did not do anything to cause it; I simply got out of bed one morning, and, upon standing up, my leg suddenly crumbled.

    An ambulance took me to the hospital, where I stayed for four days. A cast was placed over my leg.

    Several months later, my doctor urged me to have a DEXA scan (which is, basically, just doctor-speak for an X-ray of the bones). The scan revealed the presence of "osteopenia," which my doctor described as a way station, on the way to full-blown osteoporosis.

    She prescribed Fosomax tablets, plus over-the-counter calcium plus vitamin D.

    Since then, I have been receiving generic Fosomax (more precisely known as alendronate sodium) from my mail-order provider, which I take once a week; and store-brand calcium plus vitamin D from Walmart, which I take twice a day, six days a week (but not on Sunday, when I take the generic Fosomax, as they interact badly with each other).

    The result?

    When I recently had another DEXA scan, the result was superb. My doctor informed me that the osteopenia had not only been arrested, but reversed! There is no remaining trace of it.

    Like I said, no need to pay top dollar in order to receive excellent results...
    Good thread, excellent info. I was diagnosed Type 2 diabetic in June 2011 and the disease has progressed like wildfire since then, which is quite unusual. I ended up on four different pills (at different times) and a daily insulin injection to get my blood sugar under control. Diabetes medication costs are astronomical; thank God all the pills are available in generic form now. One, a drug that was just approved as a generic a few months ago, costs around $900 for a 90-day supply of the manufacturer brand....and $400 for the same amount of generic, less than half the cost (but still ridiculous....these big pharmaceutical manufacturers need to be sucker-punched). Same goes for store-brand OTC medications.....Extra Strength Excedrin was always the only NSAID that worked for me to get rid of a headache. Well, Excedrin was recalled due to a manufacturing mishap over a year ago and has been out of production ever since; I HAD to do something....so I started trying store brands that had the same ingredients. Most didn't work; the formularies were different or something....but I finally did find one that works great and is half the cost of a name-brand. It's worth the effort to try generics and store brands, IMO.

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    In Ontario, (can't speak for the other provinces) medication isn't covered under our provincial insurance plan and since I take many medications for a wide range of issues, I have come to bow before the generic medication Gods. It's funny because my one doctor keeps trying to prescribe me the non-generic version of my one medication and I continually have to remind him that it's not okay for me to pick up my script and discover it's $300 more expensive. I told him if he keeps it up I'll send him the bill - he didn't find it very funny.

    When I was a kid I had to have G-CSF injections, (Neupogen/Filgrastim or the more expensive Neulasta/Pegfilgrastim - commonly used post-chemo to boost white blood cells) which at the time cost about $10,000. Thankfully it was covered by the US hospital that was paying for the research project I was a part of. It's much cheaper now, but I couldn't believe how expensive it was. It's significantly cheaper now, (I think about $3500 per treatment) which I still find surprising since I work in healthcare and almost every chemo patient requires these injections after their 5FU/Pamidronate disconnects.

    It's ridiculous how expensive some medications are.

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    It' s wonderful that your osteopenia was reversed pjohns.

    I once read up on the difference and it is the binding agents, coloring etc that is the difference and many are absorbed the same as the name- brand. Once the name-brands patents' expire it opens the door for generic brands to follow. The 20 year patent gives the name-brand exclusive rights to sell to recoup the development costs. Generics once allowed have the same FDA approval process as the name-brand.

    The article made sense of why after years of needing a prescription for Allegra it was now OTC (at 3x the cost of my co-pay). I was thankful when a generic brand of Allegra came out and fortunate that it works the same for me.

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    Natural supplements can do far more good than synthetics for most problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oceanloverOH View Post
    Extra Strength Excedrin was always the only NSAID that worked for me to get rid of a headache. Well, Excedrin was recalled due to a manufacturing mishap over a year ago and has been out of production ever since; I HAD to do something....so I started trying store brands that had the same ingredients. Most didn't work; the formularies were different or something....but I finally did find one that works great and is half the cost of a name-brand. It's worth the effort to try generics and store brands, IMO.
    I believe Excedrin is comprised of equal parts aspirin and acetominophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), with a little caffeine thrown in for good measure.

    Whenever comparing competing brands (including store brands), it is a good idea to check the compartive ingredients.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chippygirl View Post
    I once read up on the difference and it is the binding agents, coloring etc that is the difference and many are absorbed the same as the name- brand.
    Yes, it is my understanding that the FDA requires, not only that the active ingredient(s) must be the same, and in the same dosage, for generics, as with their name-brand counterparts; but that the binding agents must be identical also, so that the medicine is absorbed at the same rate into the bloodstream.
    Last edited by pjohns; 11-09-2012 at 03:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pjohns View Post
    I believe Excedrin is comprised of equal parts aspirin and acetominophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), with a little caffeine thrown in for good measure.

    Whenever comparing competing brands (including store brands), it is a good idea to check the compartive ingredients.
    You are correct on the ingredients. Store brand OTC meds, unlike prescription generics, aren't necessarily formulated or produced the same way as the name brand or other store brands. Several different store brand "Excedrin" pills, though the mg amounts of each ingredient were exactly the same, just did not work. When I questioned my pharmacist about it, she said it had something to do with proprietary methods of blending ingredients, pill coatings, things like that. And she agreed that with OTCs, some will work just like the name brand for one person but perhaps not for someone else. She said that all I could do was keep trying different store brands till I found one that worked for me.

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