A Generic is a drug which is produced and distributed without patent protection. Brand names drugs are from companies who research, develop, and get approval to manufacture a drug are given a period of time, between seven and twelve years, to sell this brand name drug on the market without it being copied or duplicated.
In most cases, generic products are not available until the patent protections afforded to the original developer have expired.
When generic products become available, the market competition often leads to substantially lower prices for both the original brand name product and the generic forms.
There are no difference to quality, purity, effectiveness and safety between generic drugs and higher-priced brand-name drugs. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are receiving generic products.
All drugs (brand or generic) sold in Canada must be approved by Health Canada.
Here are some well-known drugs by generic name, with the patent brand name.
ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors-Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors are used to treat high blood pressure. They cause the blood vessels to relax and become larger and, as a result, blood pressure is lowered. When blood pressure is reduced, the heart has an easier time pumping blood. This is especially beneficial when the heart is failing. ACE inhibitors also cause the process of hypertensive- and diabetes-related kidney diseases to slow down and prevent early deaths associated with high blood pressure. ACE inhibitors cannot be taken during pregnancy since they may cause birth defects. Generic ACE inhibitors are available.
Acetaminophen (brand name: Tylenol)-A pain reliever and fever reducer. The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not known. Acetaminophen relieves pain by elevating the pain threshold (that is, by requiring a greater amount of pain to develop before it is felt by a person). Acetaminophen reduces fever through its action on the heat-regulating center of the brain. Generic is available.
Amoxicillin (brand names: Amoxil, Polymox, Trimox)-An antibiotic of the penicillin type that is effective against different bacteria such as Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria gonorrhoea, Escherichia coli, Pneumococci, Streptococci, and certain strains of Staphylococci, particularly infections of the middle ear, tonsillitis, throat infections, laryngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Amoxicillin is also used in treating urinary tract infections, skin infections, and gonorrhea. Generic is available.
Fluoxetine (brand name: Prozac)-A class of antidepressant medications that affects chemical messengers within the brain. These chemical messengers are called neurotransmitters. Many experts believe that an imbalance in these neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Fluoxetine is used in the treatment of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Fluoxetine is believed to work by inhibiting the release of or affecting the action of serotonin. Generic is available.
Ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin, Medipren, Nuprin)-A traditional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. As a group, NSAIDs are nonnarcotic relievers of mild to moderate pain of many causes, including injury, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Generic is available.
Levothyroxine sodium (brand names: Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, Unithroid)-A synthetic version of the principal thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4), which is made and released by the thyroid gland. Levothyroxine sodium is used to treat hypothyroidism and to suppress thyroid hormone release in the management of cancerous thyroid nodules and growth of goiters. Thyroid hormone increases the metabolic rate of cells of all tissues in the body. Thyroid hormone helps to maintain brain function, food metabolism, and body temperature, among other effects. Generic is available
Metformin (brand name: Glucophage)-Approved by the FDA in 1994, metformin is used to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes in adults and children. Metformin also reduces complications of diabetes including heart disease, blindness and kidney disease. When used alone, metformin does not increase insulin levels in the blood and, therefore, does not result in extremely low blood glucose levels. Metformin increases the effects that insulin has on the liver, muscle, fat, and other tissues. As a result, the reduced levels of insulin have more of an effect than they otherwise would. Metformin also has been used to prevent diabetes from worsening and also has been used to treat polycystic ovaries. Side effects of metformin include nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Generic metformin is available.