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Not a debate on health care

The NYTimes had an article recently (which I just found in some roundabout way that I don’t even remember) about generic versus name brand prescriptions (go ahead, pop over and read it). I was only half-interested until I got halfway down the first page and saw that my name brand / generic (in the exact dosage) was specifically  mentioned as one that people complain about.

I’ve switched back and forth between the generic budeprioin/bupropion and the name brand Wellbutrin, as well as trying out different dosages and the one-a-day versus multiple doses a day over the last five or six years. The glory days back when we could mail-order name brands from Canada for free, but those days are long gone. I had no worries about switching from the name brand to the generic because I figured they were the same (and they are, if you put quotes around same). However, a while after the switch (depression medications take an incredibly long time to work properly, 6 weeks to 6 months – the brain is an amazing thing, but easily changeable it is not), I noticed that I was more tired than I used to be. It took me quite some time to trace it back to the switch to generic, but I did.

I was pretty certain that this wasn’t just a mind game, since I hadn’t thought there would be a difference between the two. But, doubt had crept in a bit about this. So imagine the feeling of validation I got when I got to this section:

Yet, after hundreds of consumers posted messages about problems with the generic drug Budeprion XL 300 on the People’s Pharmacy Web site, Mr. Graedon worked with an independent laboratory, ConsumerLab.com, to test the drug, which in other generic versions is typically known as bupropion.

The lab found that Budeprion XL 300 released the active drug at a different rate than the brand name Wellbutrin XL 300.

I’m not the only one! Well, of course I wasn’t, but I don’t have anyone to compare notes with. My doctor and I did figure out a decent solution (switching to the two a day instead of timed-release), but I have to say it’s still not as good as the name brand. Sigh. (As a sidenote, I take 150 2x a day, compared to 300 once a day. I’ve tried doing the 150 3x a day, and I actually end up more tired, because I sleep so lightly on that dosage that I don’t get a decent night’s sleep. Bummer.) However, it works well enough to not be tempted to pay the out-of-pocket price for name brand (which is… ouch! painful).

I’m super-cool with generics on most things. I like to be cheap. (I almost wrote that I like to save money, but I don’t think that’s as accurate a statement.) Some name brand items are preferred simply because that’s what I’m familiar with (like Frosted Mini Wheats), or it’s what works best (like Advil Liqui-Gels).

The NYTimes article ended rather abruptly, and awkwardly, just like this post will (most likely because in both instances, the author couldn’t figure out how to wrap things up nicely).

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