Given the current economic climate, there is a greater emphasis on the use of generic drugs due to the cost savings. The FDA holds name brand drugs to a slightly higher standard than generic, which in most cases is not significant. The essential ingredient is the same in both name brand and generic drugs, but the amount in name brand drugs tends to be more precise. The nonessential ingredients may differ, however, these differences should be minimal. In some instances involving certain conditions, physicians prefer a name brand drug based on scientific data, studies, potential interactions with other medications, and patient satisfaction. Another frustrating issue involving generic medications is a pharmacy’s tendency to change between generic brands without informing patients. Thus a patient may receive brand X on one refill and brand Y on the next. This inconsistency can occasionally lead to side effects and difficulties with dosing. It is especially important to be aware of this if you are taking a generic brand of Coumadin, otherwise known as Warfarin.
We do our best to prescribe medications that are most cost effective in regards to your personal condition. There are circumstances, however, in which the data from studies is persuasive enough to recommend name brand drugs for at least a period of time.
In conclusion, automatic substitution of generic medications is generally safe, but can in certain instances lead to side effects and intolerance.