Mental Wellness Today - What's in a name, Generic Medication vs. Brand Name

More and more people are turning to generic medication, and it’s no wonder: Spending on prescription medications keeps climbing, and generics can save considerable money.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t oversee or set drug prices, but it estimates that when a generic version becomes available, it costs 10 to 15 percent less than the brand name. As more generic medications for the same condition become available, they become even less expensive, says Ethan Stier, acting deputy director, Division of Bioequivalence 2, in the FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs. But the idea of switching to a generic raises a lot of questions: Will it work as well as the brand name? Is it as safe? What about side effects? And how much money will it really save?

Alan Mendelowitz, MD, a psychiatrist at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, frequently prescribes generic medication to save his patients money, but he says he makes the decision on a case-by-case basis. It depends on the drug, he says, and it depends on the patient.

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Holy ■■■■! Dr Frenkel, mentioned in the article, used to be my shrink when I lived in Northern Virginia as a kid. He treated me at Dominion Hospital in Arlington. Small world.


This is a great article. I recently had an issue with generic medication.

I’d been taking generic Seroquel for years, and the pharmacy always dispensed it from the same manufacturer.

Then on one refill, the pills changed color and shape. I didn’t think anything about it at the moment.

But a few weeks later, I became gradually unstable. I immediately called my psych for a phone consultation. His first response was, “By any chance has your generic Seroquel changed recently?”

I told him that yes, this month they were different in color and shape. He knew immediately that the change was the cause of my instability!

He told me that between brand name, and even between generics, the potency can differ by around 20%.

So I talked to my pharmacy and requested they special order my normal generic for me. They did. And problem solved!

Thanks for bringing attention to this, Barbie!




I started out with brand name psych meds from the start, years ago. I had a few doctors tell me its not a good idea to switch over to generic once you have been on brand name meds all these years. I once switched over to generic lithium from brand name - Eskalith, I got sick. There are differences in strength and potency between brand and generics

I have two meds that the pharmacy orders from specific manufactureers. Generic Zyprexa and Effexor. The manufacturer can make a difference - how the drug works and/or how it’s absorbed.

On one refile the pharmacy bought from different manufacturer. When i took the pill i had depression and sleepiness, i start to think if i am going to get sick. I had month supply of the old one, when i took the old pill. Depression was gone, i was feeling as usual. I called the pharmacy and told them about the pill, they had already switched back to the old one, but they denied that my depression and sleepiness is the cause of the newer med.