Did You Know Generic Migraine Medications Can Vary?

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • Earlier this month, I posted the article, Topamax or Topiramate for Migraine - A Difference? That article discusses problems some people are having with generic topiramate versus the brand name Topamax.


    In writing that article, I talked with our very own Dr. John Claude Krusz, and I learned more about generic medications that I knew before. Admittedly, I find some of what I learned from him rather disturbing. It applies not just to topiramate and to Topamax, but to all generic medications. It's important enough that I'm going to republish the part of that article that pertains to all generic medications here for you.

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    • It turns out that FDA standards on generics and bioavailability are rather loose. Bioavailability is the rate at which a medication is rate at which a substance (such as a medication) is absorbed into the body and made available at its site of action. What's interesting is that current FDA regulations allow the bioavailability of a generic medication to range from 20% below that of the original brand name medication to 20% above. In an extreme case, there could be a 40% difference in bioavailability between two generics made by different manufacturers.


    • Usually, if a generic medication isn't working as well as the brand name , an adjustment in dosage solves the problem.


    • However, if prescriptions are refilled from different generic suppliers, and the bioavailability is varying significantly, changing the dosage isn't an option for solving the problem. This may be addressed by notifying your pharmacy that a specific generic is necessary or that a specific generic is unacceptable. Your doctor can specify this on your prescription.


    So, did YOU know that? Until very recently, I didn't. This information about the bioavailability of generic medications is something I think we should all know and store away for future reference.


    Dr. Krusz, thank you so much for your help, as always!


    Live well,




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    Last updated August 21, 2009
Published On: August 21, 2009