What’s the Difference between Generics and Brand-name Medications?

Have you ever been prescribed a drug for which a generic alternative was available? If so, you may have a few questions about the differences. Some people are initially concerned that these drugs just are not as safe or that they don’t work the same. People also worry about effectiveness, ingredients, or the procedure used to create these medications. Today we’ve got answers to a few common questions when it comes to generic medications.

Why are brand name drugs more expensive?

Brand name drugs are more expensive because they’re brand name. The company that has created them has spent a lot of money on research and development, along with other factors that go into the drugs’ creation. The money they spend has to come from somewhere, and it generally comes from charging a high price for the drug. One of the biggest expenses is FDA testing and approval, which all brand name and generic drugs must have before they are allowed to be sold to consumers.

Do generics have the same effects/side effects/ ingredients?

Generic and brand name drugs must have the same active ingredients. However, the inactive ingredients they contain can be different. What does this mean? Generally, the drugs will generally work the same but may have moderately different side effects. Someone may be allergic to something used in the brand name medication, but be able to tolerate the generic one more easily. In most cases people are not affected, but there is the possibility for that to occur.

Is it dangerous to switch back and forth?

Technically, there should not be any danger in switching back and forth between brand name and generic medications. With the same active ingredient and strict requirements regarding how much of that ingredient must be included in the medication and absorbed by the patient’s body, the medications should work the same. As long as there are no allergies or other types of issues between the brand name and the generic medications, making the switch should not be a problem for patients.

Many people switch from name brand to generic when the generic medication comes out, or they switch from one to the other if they change doctors or their financial situation changes. In most cases, there is no danger to this and the patient adjusts well to the slight difference in inactive ingredients.

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