Home guest articles Generic & Brand-Name Medications: Pros & Cons

Generic & Brand-Name Medications: Pros & Cons

written by Guest Blogger February 28, 2015

Here’s another helpful article by regular contributor, Dixie Somers. Today she helps us consider the pros and cons of both generic and name brand medications.

Brand name medication can be extremely expensive in our day and age, which is why more than 70% of prescription drugs taken in the United States are generic. However, there are pros and cons to both prescription and generic medications—it often comes down to preference, availability, insurance approvals, and cost. It can be difficult to decide between generic and brand name medications, especially when you don’t have all the facts. Take a look at the following pros and cons, to get a good idea of which option is best for you:

The Pros of Brand Name Drugs

Despite their reputation, there are a few key benefits to taking brand-name drugs. First, they are usually under patent, which means that they are the latest drug in their class and may have newly discovered ingredients and benefits. Second, the testing of brand name medication includes their fillers and other ingredients. Last, brand name drugs have completely accurate labeling. The contents and possible interactions of their fillers is included, so there is no guessing when it comes to knowing exactly what is in your medications.

The Cons of Brand Name Drugs

Despite the benefits of brand name drugs, there is one key drawback: the cost. Not only are brand name drugs several times more expensive, they also are more likely to not be covered by insurance plans. The cost may make them completely out of reach for a typical consumer. This can be frustrating when your doctor suggests a specific brand of medication that isn’t covered by your insurance and leaves a dent in your bank account every month.

The Pros of Generic Drugs

Generic drugs seem like the perfect deal at first glance. The active ingredient itself is identical to the brand name drugs, but the cost can be as little as a few dollars. Although the fillers and binding materials used in generic drugs are not tested, most people never notice the difference. In addition, a drug has been on the market for many years by the time it is available in generic form, so its effects and interactions are well-known.

The Cons of Generic Drugs

While there are many pros to generic drugs, there are a few drawbacks as well. They are only required to have 80 to 125 percent of the dosage listed, which is less precise than brand name drugs. This can be disastrous in drugs where accurate dosing is crucial, such as anti-seizure, psychoactive, and thyroid medication.

In addition, generic drugs use different fillers, binders, and other non-active ingredients. People may have reactions to these fillers and assume that they are reacting to the drug. The generic drug may break down at a different rate due to the difference in non-active ingredients, which can change effects dramatically. Because pharmacies routinely switch between different generic brands to save cost, many consumers are getting a slightly different blend every time they fill their prescription for a generic drug.

As with all medical treatments, there are serious pros and cons for both name brand and prescription drugs. In order to stay safe, it is important be informed about what you are taking, and why. If you are unsure about your prescriptions, professionals who offer online pharmacy programs suggest that you discuss your options with your doctor. He or she can give you recommendations, and any warnings when it comes to brands you should stray away from specifically.

While it is nice to save money, you don’t always want to go with the cheapest medication—so seek your doctor’s advice before deciding on which brand to use. Once you get all the facts and consider both sides, it is easier to find a medication that fits both your budget and medical needs.

About the Author

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer from Arizona. You can find her on Google+.

Do you have any pros or cons of either generic or name brand medications?

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