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Generic Drug Issues

What exactly is a generic drug? While the word "generic" is often used by physicians and pharmacists, its definition may not be completely clear to the layman. A generic drug is essentially an imitation of an original brand-name drug. When the patent or trademark protection on the original drug expires, copies or reproductions of the drug can be made. Many different companies may manufacture generics of the original drug. This means that many different versions of the same drug may be sold at the same time.

Differences between generic and branded drugs can be especially critical in certain circumstances. For some diseases and illnesses, even relatively minor differences in the way a drug works can have significant impact on the patient. The differences in generic vs. branded drugs can be especially important in the older population. Older patients may have reduced stomach, intestine, liver, or kidney function. This means that the body may not use a drug as effectively as a younger patient's would. This situation can be complicated by the use of generic drugs. Patients who take many different medications may also be at greater risk. The use of generic drugs in these situations may make monitoring of therapy even more complex.

The decision to use generic medications for any medical condition must be carefully evaluated by physicians and patients. This is especially important for Parkinson's disease (PD) patients who must maintain dopamine levels in order to maintain a benefit from their therapy.

If you are considering the use of any generic drugs, talk to your physician or pharmacist to determine the benefits vs. the risks involved.

Lower-cost generic drugs often provide a safe alternative to many brand-name drugs. However, generic drug substitution may not always be the right choice for every patient. Working in partnership with your physician and pharmacist is the best way to ensure that an optimal PD treatment program -- that includes the right medications -- is developed and maintained for you.

Source:  Parkinsonís Info




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