Oz Consumer Alert: Generic vs Brand Name

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Generic Prescriptions

If you are making a switch from a brand-name drug to the generic version, monitor how you feel before and after the switch. For example, write down your blood sugar count if you are diabetic or take blood pressure readings with a BP monitor. Bring the results to your doctor if you notice a change.

With epilepsy drugs, have your doctor take blood levels before and after the switch. This is helpful information if your blood levels are not the same on the generic version. Adjusting the dosage a number of times may be necessary to convince the insurance company that you need to be on the brand-name medication.

If you are prescribed a generic drug talk to your pharmacist to discuss the rate at which the medication is released in comparison to the brand name drug.

Generic Over-the-Counter Drugs and Supplements

When purchasing a generic over-the-counter medication, look to see where the medication is made. If it is made outside the US in somewhere like China or India, it does not have to adhere to FDA regulations.

Look for USP-approved generic supplements. A USP stamp assures that the supplement contains the ingredients listed on the label in the specified amount; that it will break down and release into the body in a precise amount of time; and that it has been made in accordance with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Processes.

Generic Beauty Products

Results for generic wrinkle creams are usually short-lived, as they contain lower concentrations of active ingredients than prescription creams. The effectiveness of anti-wrinkle creams depends in part on the amount of active ingredients it contains, such as retinol or hydroxy acids. Active ingredients should be anywhere from 1-10%.

Buyer Beware: The FDA classifies creams and lotions as cosmetics, which are defined as having no medical value; therefore, they are regulated less strictly than drugs.