Are you considering switching from a brand name drug to a generic drug, or vice versa? Many brand name drugs can be replaced with generic drugs or vice versa without any issue. But sometimes a change in a medication can lead to potential side-effects. Talk to your doctor before switching your medications to make sure that medication formula works with your body. Here are four types of medications you need to talk to your doctor before switching.
Medications for underactive thyroid
Thyroid is such a sensitive gland and a small change in medication dose may affect the thyroid hormone levels in your blood. Generic products may or may not contain the same amount of inactive ingredients in comparison to brand-name drugs. For example: If a patient is prescribed with a generic druglevothyroxine — with brand names Levoxyl, Synthroid, or Levothroid must not be switched with any other drug. But if a switch is necessary, the thyroid levels of a patient should be closely monitored to detect changes in the blood levels of the hormone.
Eye drops for glaucoma
The generic eye drops approved after 1962 are considered similar to the brand-name version as long as they contain the same amounts of the same active ingredient found in the brand version. However, the inactive ingredients can be different, which can affect behavior of these medications — especially in terms of shelf life, temperature changes and effectiveness. This is especially a concern with Xalatan and its generic form latanoprost. So if you’re taking brand-name or generic eye drops for glaucoma, ask your doctor what to expect before swapping one for the other.
Certain diabetes medications
Insulin was the only diabetes medication that came in the injectable form. But now many diabetes medications such asliraglutide (Victoza or Saxenda), dulaglutide (Trulicity),exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon) and pramlinitide (Symlin) are available but these aren’t insulin. Unfortunately, most of the people confuse these medications with insulin, and that leads to problems. These drugs work in a different way than insulin and have some different side effects. Your doctor may recommend you both insulin and one of the other non-insulin injectable drugs. But understand that you can’t switch non-insulin injectables to insulin.
The seizure medications, both extended-release and controlled-release are designed to release a specific amount of drug in a certain time to reduce the risk of seizures by keeping drug levels steady. However, replacing your brand name drug with generics or when taking generic drug made by different manufacturers may alter drug levels in your body which can make you more prone to seizures. You’re better off sticking with the same version of the same seizure medication made by the same manufacturer unless your doctor tells you.