To save money, many people with ADHD take generic medications. Their physicians—and pharmacists—assure them that these generics have “bioequivalence” with the brand-name version. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Dangerously so, in some cases.
The ADHD Roller Coaster covered this topic a few months ago: (Consumer Reports on Autos? Yes. On ADHD Medications? No!)
A Consumer Reports press release prompted that blog post. Shockingly, it actually warned consumers away from brand-name medications for ADHD. Their reasoning? These brand-name medications are too costly and unnecessary.
In that blog post, I countered, detailing the potential dangers of using generic medications for treating ADHD and co-existing conditions.
With other readers, I left comments at the Consumer Reports blog post (“Parents: Don’t rush Children to Adderall, Concerta, Strattera“). Unfortunately, as it increasingly the case, all readers comments have since been deleted.
“A Gnawing Concern”
Today, The New York Times article (“Not All Drugs Are the Same After All”) backs up my points on generics. Some snippets:
- “There is a gnawing concern among some doctors and researchers that certain prescription generic drugs may not work as well as their brand-name counterpart.”
- “Some specialists, particularly cardiologists and neurologists, are concerned about generic formulations of drugs in which a slight variation could have a serious effect on a patient’s health.”
- “After hundreds of consumers posted messages about problems with the generic drug Budeprion XL 300 on the People’s Pharmacy Web site, Mr. [Joe] Graedon worked with an independent laboratory, ConsumerLab.com, to test the drug, which in other generic versions is typically known as bupropion. The lab found that Budeprion XL 300 released the active drug at a different rate than the brand name Wellbutrin XL 300. Mr. Graedon and the lab conjecture that the different dissolution rates might be to blame for the reported side effects and lower effectiveness of Budeprion.”
Kudos to Joe Graedon of The People’s Pharmacy for listening to his readers (despite his own longstanding support of generics) and probing the issue!
[Note: This incident with Wellbutrin provided the foundation for my launching a MedWatch complaint with the FDA, about the inferior Concerta generics. We won! The battle is still waging, with one manufacturer unwilling to accept the downgrade. Some consumers are still being forced to accept them as generics, by pharmacies that aren’t playing by the rules. You can read the history here: Consumer Q&A On Generic Concerta.]
I welcome your comments on generic medications and ADHD. Please scroll down — no registration or codes required!