Joe and Terry Graedon have been teaching, writing, and broadcasting information to help people make informed decisions about their health for more than four decades. Joe is an adjunct assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of North Carolina. Terry has a PhD from the University of Michigan in medical anthropology. Together the couple write a popular syndicated newspaper column and are hosts of The People’s Pharmacy public radio program. They are authors of Simple Health Remedies, a monthly newsletter produced with Newsmax Health, and many books, including Quick & Handy Home Remedies.
Tags: generic | drugmakers | health tips

10 Tips for Generic Drug Safety

By    |   Thursday, 25 Jun 2015 04:59 PM

1. Investigate your medications. Insurance companies often require patients to buy generic drugs whenever possible. Brand-name medicines are frequently unaffordable. Rather than assuming the generic drug is no good, check it out. Each medication needs to be assessed, based on data and your own experience.

2. Keep records of the manufacturer. Ask the pharmacist to tell you who made the generic drug you take, and where it comes from. If you know that a certain manufacturer makes pills that work for you, specify that drugmaker when you refill your prescription.

3. Track your response. If a medicine is supposed to control blood pressure, use a monitor to check your blood pressure and track your progress. This allows you to see which pills are working, and provides your doctor with objective data to use if he or she needs to intervene with the insurance company on your behalf.

4. Get your lab results. If a drug is intended to keep your cholesterol down, you’ll need to hang on to your records so you can follow its effectiveness over time. If your results change after switching to a generic, kick up a fuss. You shouldn’t have to take a pill that doesn’t work for you.

5. Monitor your symptoms. If, for example, the medicine you take for an enlarged prostate gets changed and you need to get up for a bathroom visit twice as often at night, the drug is not working as well as it should.

6. Listen to your body. Pain and mood are entirely subjective, but if you keep a diary, you’ll be able to detect changes in your reaction to different formulations.

7. Challenge/rechallenge. This is a classic experiment, but with just one subject: you. If you find that a given generic drug isn’t working, switch to the brand name to see if that makes a difference. The rechallenge is to take the generic again and see if the problem recurs.

8. Be assertive! Don’t accept reflex assurances that all generic drugs are identical to brand names or even other generics.

9. Build alliances. If your insurance company refuses to pay for a brand-name medication, you will need your doctor to plead your case. If you find that a particular generic is the one you do well on, ask your pharmacist to stock it for you.

10. Report generic drug problems to the FDA through MedWatch. You can find the form online or use the toll-free number: 1-800-332-1088.

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Report generic drug problems to the FDA through MedWatch. You can find the form online or use the toll-free number: 1-800-332-1088.
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