It's finally here! Merck's patent on the popular osteoporosis drug Fosamax has run out, and now other companies are offering generic alendronate at lower prices. For those whose doctors have recommended the medication but have been put off by the price, now you have one less excuse to disregard your bone health. There are at least three versions available, and it may be time to talk with your doctor to see if a cheaper alternative is right for you. But beware -- just because the drug is more affordable doesn't necessarily mean it's the best choice for everybody, so make sure you discuss this issue with your physician before starting or stopping any medication.
The FDA recently approved two new generic versions of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s popular anti-arthritis medication, Mobic. This medication, which treats the symptoms of both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, had sales of over a billion dollars in the United States during the last fiscal year. The two generic alternatives, known by the generic name Meloxicam, are produced by the Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Par Pharmaceuticals Co, Inc, and are available in doses of 7.5 and 15 mg. Find out more about Meloxicam here.
I had always been told that the active ingredients in generic medications had to be exactly the same as their brand name counterparts; that the only differences allowed were in the inactive ingredients, such as binders. But as I began to hear from more and more people who insisted that the generic of a particular medication was not as effective for them as the brand name, I decided it was time to dig deeper. As it turns out, brand name and generic medications aren't necessarily exactly the same. The differences and the reason we're often told they are equilivant are tied up in the definitions of three terms – bioequivalence, therapeutic equivalence and bioavailability. Bioequivalence means that two drugs given to the same patient in the same dosage regimen will result in equivalent concentrations of the drug in plasma and tissues. Generic drugs are required to be bioequivalent to the original brand name drug. Therapeutic equivalence means that...
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