Generic vs. Brand Name Drugs

  1. yesterday, i had my first reaction to the celexa i take for depression. i've been on this med two years now, and no reactions experienced before now. i just had the rx refilled, and took the first pill yesterday. i noticed the med is a salmon pink color, not white, as it usually is, so my guess is they gave me a generic drug.....or a "placebo". within one hour of taking the medication, i had the same reaction i get with asa...i'm highly allergic to asa and a bunch of other drugs. i quickly swallowed two benadryl capsules (a total of 50 mg) and in less than 45 minutes, i felt tons better....just drugged too much, so slept til ten this a.m. i called my doc...she called back this morning...told me to take the medication to the pharmacist to have them recheck the dosage and the drug for generic qualities, and call her back so she can enter a new rx for me that would be the brand drug itself, and not a generic one. now...i am waiting for hubby to exit his classroom (he's a medical instructor), so i can get him to come get me since i'm still droggy on benadryl...not to mention i had to take allegra and flonase this a.m. for allergy control. now i'm really wiped out. so...here i sit at the puter with my groggy self typing away to you all about my rx reaction.

    my question is:
    have any of you ever had an allergic reaction to a medication and found out you were given the generic brand instead of the brand name drug itself? how many of you have found in practicing nursing that patients often react negatively to generic drugs vs. the brand name drugs? thanks for your input, gals and guys.
    Last edit by live4today on Jul 9, '02
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  2. 54 Comments

  3. by   eak16
    just to clarify, I dont think you meant "placebo", did you? A placebo is like a sugar pill that is used in double blind trials and such, and does nothing, except make the brain think you should be getting better because you are taking pills, which sometimes helps (the placebo effect).
    If the generic drug was prescribed and filled properly, it should have been just as potent as the name brand.
  4. by   JeannieM
    Cheerfuldoer, I haven't actually had this happen to me myself, but in my Advanced Pharmacology course in grad we were warned about patients with precariously controlled seizure disorders who developed seizures when Dilantin or Tegretol were substituted with generics--sometimes when even one brand of generic was substituted with another! BTW: the Celexa I take is the salmon-pink color; I've never had a white one. Hope you feel much better soon! JeannieM
  5. by   live4today
    I only mentioned the drug being "Placebo" because they do substitute antidepressant drugs...such as Celexa (because it's relatively new on the market) with Placebo pills during the course of the therapy treatment period to see if the patient is being helped by the medication, or NOT.

    I know that a Placebo pill is a "sugar pill"...which is why I followed the statment with a "" emoticon. :chuckle But...it's always good to double check a nurse from time to time to make sure we are on our tippy toes...especially when it comes to understanding the reactions and effects of a prescription drug. :kiss

    If the pill were a "Placebo" pill, then I would have to rule out the possibility of that pill being the cause of my reaction yesterday evening, and would have to look at another possibility for the reaction I had. As a former clinical instructor, I like to throw "hum-ditties" into my post to see how sharp nurses really are around this here place, and eak16...you...passed my "hum-ditty" inspection. :kiss

    Stillllll waiting on that ride to check out my medication though. Has anyone heard from my hubby by chance? Don't mind me...I'm on a Benadryl + Allegra high right now.
  6. by   live4today
    originally posted by jeanniem
    cheerfuldoer, i haven't actually had this happen to me myself, but in my advanced pharmacology course in grad we were warned about patients with precariously controlled seizure disorders who developed seizures when dilantin or tegretol were substituted with generics--sometimes when even one brand of generic was substituted with another! btw: the celexa i take is the salmon-pink color; i've never had a white one. hope you feel much better soon! jeanniem
    thanks a bunch, jeanniem. i know i've had a salmon pink colored celexa in the past two years i've been on the medication, and sometimes the medication was a "white pill". i...being the brilliant that i am...knew about the switching off and on of the actual med with a placebo to check the efficacy of the medication, but this med might be the culprit...for whatever reason.... that's why my doctor wants me to not take it until a pharmacist checks it out. then...she'll order the brand celexa and no longer have them give me the generic celexa.

    now...it's storming cats and dogs outside, hubby called, can't leave work...students in trouble...big boss is there...the woes of being a one car family just drives me bananas at times. so...i told my dear hubby that i will not be responsible for my behavior this evening because i can't take the celexa until i have it checked out. think he's scared now???
    :chuckle :roll :chuckle
  7. by   TaraER-RN
    Hey at least you are a nurse and new to take Benadryl right away and the reaction wasn't more severe and put you in the ER...thats pretty scary...you'll have to let us know what they find out about the medication you were actually given. Hope you feel better soon
  8. by   Nurse Ratched
    Renee - the salmon pink oval one that's scored is the type we always give in the hospital - it's a 20 mg dose. It says Celexa right on the package instead of the generic name citalopram.

    I've heard people have problems with substitutions of anticonvulsants as someone else mentioned, and thyroid meds.
  9. by   duckie
    You know, I think I have had a similar experience with the drug not being what it should be. I take 1 mg Xanax BID and it is usually blue in color. Last month the ones I got were white and I swear they had no effect at all, not to mention I had the worst panic attack I have ever had while on them. Now that I am back on the blue ones, everything is okay. I might add that this was the first panic attack I have had since starting Paxil and Xanax on a daily basis. I also noticed there was no taste to this pill and the blue ones taste positively nasty. Hummmmmm....gives me food for thought and I will refuse to accept the white ones from now on.
  10. by   live4today
    Duckie....my guess is the white pills you were given were Placebo pills...not Xanax. If on a Placebo pill, you have reactions as you did, that only tells the physician that you really need the Xanax.

    Nurse Ratched...the pill I have now is salmon pink...scored...and in a bottle that says "Citalopram (Celexa or Substitute)...I think they gave me the substitute, and with the boo-koo allergies that I have...that wasn't a very smart thing for them to do. I think Pharmacists should be required to keep a list of a patient's allergies on hand in the patient's file at the pharmacy...you know...like a kardex file. With all the mistakes going on in medicine today, it sure wouldn't hurt for the "double-check" standard to be in place. Heck...even doctors are known to forget their patients allergies to medications, etc.

    TaraER-RN...thanks for the prayers. This is the time of day I usually take the pill, but can't take it until tomorrow when I can get to the pharmacist. It won't hurt to miss a night...I've done it before...not intentionally of course. Anyhoo...thank God I have lots of allergies because if I didn't, I would not have had Benadryl on hand to take. Hey......I just realized something.......I am actually thanking God for my many allergies because having them made it necessary for me to always have Benadryl on hand! Amazing grace...how sweet the sound...the Benadryl saved a wretch like me yesterday from a trip to the ER. Imagine that... :chuckle Thanks everyone for your well wishes! :kiss
  11. by   duckie
    Update to my above post. I just got off the phone with my Pharmacist and explained everything to him. He was very helpful and informative. The usual Xanax ( I take the generic) I take, which is blue in color, is manufactured by the company that actually makes the brand name Xanax, which means, I am actually getting Xanax under a generic name. This is what the Pharmacist told me. He said the other generic I had been given was made by another company and was obviously not as effective, which stands to reason if it's not being made by the company that actually makes Xanax. It's like Sears and Walmart selling the same clothes under different labels. He was very glad I had reported this to him and said it would be marked on my records to only give me the ones I have been taking. Try talking to the Pharmacist and maybe he can give you some helpful information.
  12. by   live4today
    Thanks Duckie! BTW: Do you think the pharmacist would have told you the truth if the pill was a placebo? Maybe they aren't suppose to tell the patient cause if the patient knew, they wouldn't take it??? Just wondering.
  13. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by cheerfuldoer
    Duckie....my guess is the white pills you were given were Placebo pills...not Xanax.
    Perhaps I'm just speaking out of my a** here, but wouldn't it be HIGHLY unethical to be changing around a patients meds who hadn't previously consented to being part of a blind study?

    Heather
  14. by   disher
    Doesn't sound like you have a reliable pharmacist. I thought it was commonpractice for a pharmacist to ask about drug allergies and keep a computerized record of allergies. Whenever a pharmacist has wanted to substitute a brand name for a generic they have checked with me first. I usually decline, in case I react to the base. Prescribing a placebo and lying to the patient by telling them it is a medication, is not acceptable practice a pharmacist who would fill a placebo order is behaving unethically.

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