Generics vs Brand names?

Hi everyone, I have been on Depakote ER for 3 week now and doing well most days. Still have a way to go but happy with what this drug has done for me. I was taking the name brand as I got some samples from my doctor, I just got the generic today and took my first pill an whoa… What a difference. I am so tired, I feel like I’m rocking slightly, and my rocking completely went away after about a week on Depakote. My insurance doesn’t cover much of name brands but Im seriously about to buy the name brand tomorrow no matter how much it costs! I thought basically genetics were the same? I felt tired in the beginning of the name brand and had weak limbs but that went away after a couple weeks, and now I feel juat as exhausted as I did when I first started, just from taking the generic, so strange! Anyone else experience this?


Coincidentally was just talking about this with some friends tonight. I thought the only difference was in the packing agents they use and we know that this can cause problems for MAVers if those agents were triggers. But, my friend Steve said (and he’s a journalist who has worked in the medical field, his sister and mum are nurses and brother in law a surgeon, so I’m thinking he’s a reliable source of info) that there can be a + or - of maybe 2-3% of what is actually listed as the active ingredients from one brand to the other. Apparantly this is mostly an issue for anti deppressants and anti psychotics.

I’m guessing Dr Scott and Dr Kelley will probably know a bit about this one :smiley:


I’ve noticed a MASSIVE difference in branded clonazepam (Rivotril; Klonopin) versus generic. I insist on branded now and my GP’s ok about it.

The topirimate I’ve got is a mixture of branded and generic though with a lot more generic as Boots (the Chemist) had’nt got enough of either!


So far I’ve been prescribed meds that have generics so I’ve alwasys used the generic, but with those I’ve noticed a difference between the manufacturing labs if the pharmacy switches for some reason. So I always ask if I have to make a switch who the manufacturer is because I have noticed differences, so I’d imagine the same could be true between name brand and generic as well.

Thanks Ladies, well I woke up so exhausted, slightly dizzy with a slight headache. It sort of feels like I took a diluted version of the pill I normally take :?

Hi All,

I’ve got two views on this:

  1. The organisation where I work is right now into a campaign called “Generics” whereby we have launched an Australian-wide initiative to get the message out there that there is NO DIFFERENCE between the original brand and the so-called generics that have followed once the patent on the original brand expires. As long as the same active ingredients are in the medicine, there is no difference in it’s efficacy. This has been very well studied and is evidence-based, and is logical. Part of this initiative is to stop people from using the word “generic” which suggests that medication is inferior to the original brand. This is a big problem in Aboriginal communities where they perceive the word generic as being inferior and therefore think that non-Indigenous Australians get a better deal because they use the original brand – and as you can imagine, this costs the government money because many medicines here are subsidised (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme). Rather, we use the words “brands” across all medicines containing the same ingredients. Just like there are brands of shampoo, or toilet paper, so too are there brands of medicines. Different brands of medicines containing the same ingredients have to look different though and so the meds usually come in different colours and use different excipients (packaging agents) to differentiate them from the original brand.

  2. I have used other brands of citalopram (Celexa or Cipramil as you would know this drug). When I used brands that were not Cipramil (the original brand name in Australia) I had more gut problems, and therefore increased anxiety on those other brands. It happened over and over again, occurred within 1-2 days and was not a strange coincidence. One was called Telohexal and I used a New Zealand version once too (Celapram). What does differ, however, is the excipients or packing agents or the inactive substances that is used as the drug “carrier.” Clearly, for me anyway, some of these packing agents don’t agree with me like other ones do. Not surprising really because I am extremely chemical sensitive to the point where I have to use a shampoo with next to nothing in it otherwise major headaches occur. Even gelatin caps in fish oils do me in.

Vic – I’ve never heard of this +/- thing with the ingredients list you mention unless you’re talking about the excipients. We’d need evidence for this because it has never appeared in the formative research at the organisation where I work.

The take home message is that, for most people here, other brands should be absolutely fine unless you get some weird reaction from the packing agents. If it means saving hundreds of dollars, I’d be making sure the perceived change in how you feel on the new brand is not a coincidence.

Scott 8)

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Hey Scott,

I have found the ‘source’ article my friend was talking about. Check it out:

So, what they are actually saying (I think) is that if you are getting a medicine that is a recipe, that once a different brand makes it the quantities can be between 80-120% of the original recipe and still be called the same thing. For a medicine that is one thing eg paracetamol or benzodiazepam then the active ingredient listed eg 5mg is the same, whichever brand it is.


After great deliberation I decided to revisit this ancient topic rather than start a new one or just link to it because so much of the above although long posted is still totally relevant and akin to my current thoughts. I can especially relate to Scott’s comment about ‘gelatine caps in fish oils’! Both me and Him Indoors have suffered that one!

For anybody else who starts out as confused as I was with this subject, I’ll try to make it a bit clearer. Effexor is well known here. Effexor is a name used under licence by the original manufacturer who charges more because they are usually responsible for drug development. ‘Generics’, ie Venlafaxine are later copies by other manufacturers. As is Propranolol hydrochloride, Amitriptyline, Noritriptyline etc etc. If you are UK based and use NHS it’s unlikely you wil receive anything other than generics because of cost.

Whilst doing a bit of research relating to the effects of being continually issued with drugs produced by different manufacturers I found it reassuring to find alot of people experience problems constantly switching between various manufacturers products even though all are generics. This seems to apply to many people taking drugs generally for many conditions, not just MAV/migraine and same seemed to apply to people experiencing difficulties switching between Immediate and Extended Release. So it seems We MAVers aren’t quite as unique in our sensitivities as might first be imagined. It was extremely interesting to read that despite the active drug components being identical - to the point that apparently it’s perfectly in order to switch straight over from one betablocker to another without any tiration etc, and the same should apply to AED’s (although I’m not sure what these are) - various manufacturers use different mechanisms to achieve the ‘extended release’ effect and this can be what causes problems.

There’s alot more detailed information on the internet and I’m sure most people aren’t adversely affected by changing but it’s always good to be aware that the possibility does exist, even if, as I’ve found, persuading some of the medical profession proves difficult. Helen