4/16/2014

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Consumer

Are generic drugs as safe and effective as brand name drugs?

Are generic drugs as safe and effective as brand name drugs?
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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You've heard it many times before: Generics are as safe and effective as the original brand name drugs they copy.
 
They may be a different size or shape, but they have the same active ingredients. And they're a whole lot cheaper.

Even so, Dr. John Swartzberg at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter says be alert for rare but possible problems.

"There are some drugs that you have to have exactly the dose or near exactly the dose and one generic may be different from a brand and a brand may be different from a generic sufficiently that it may make a difference for you -but there are very few drugs like that."
 
The Wellness Letter says the generic drugs to watch out for are thyroid medications, anti-seizure drugs and the blood thinner warfarin.
 
The bottom line: Dr. Swartzberg remains a big believer in generics.
 
"In general a generic is going to deliver a sufficient amount of the medication. The FDA makes sure it's within a strict range to make sure it's safe."
 
If you do make a switch from a brand to a generic or vice-versa and something doesn't seem right, talk to your physician right away.
 

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More Information:
How Good Are Generic Drugs?

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