Prescription Drugs - What U Need To Know

Medicines: Use Them Safely

Pharmaceutical companies are constantly developing new and improved medicines and vaccines that allow us to fight disease and feel our optimum. Prescription drugs fight infections, block and reduce pain, and control bodily functions such as blood pressure. Some drugs, such as insulin, replace substances our bodies have trouble producing while others can change our thinking and control our actions.
You and your family should learn about the medicines you take and their possible side effects. Remember, medicines that are strong enough to cure you can also be strong enough to hurt you if they are not used correctly. Here are some hints to help avoid risks and get the best results from your medicines:

  • DO store medication in a cool, dry, dark place out of the reach of children and in childproof containers.
  • DO keep a daily checklist of all the medicines you take and the time of day you take them.
  • DO read and save all written information that comes with the medicine.
  • DO read the label to make sure the pharmacy has dispensed the correct medication to the correct person with the correct directions ordered by your physician.
  • DO take medicine in the exact amount and the precise schedule prescribed.
  • DO check the expiration date.
  • DO call your doctor if you experience any problems with your medicines.
  • DO NOT take medicine prescribed for other people.
  • DO NOT stop taking a medication without your doctor's permission.
  • DO NOT mix alcohol and medicine without consulting your doctor.

What Are Generic Drugs? 

A generic drug is a duplicate of a brand name drug. Generic drugs are equivalent to their brand name counterparts because they contain the same active ingredients, and deliver the same amount of medication to the body in the same amount of time. A generic drug may be available once the patent on the brand name manufacturer no longer has the exclusive rights to make the drug. Today, almost half of all prescriptions are filled with generic drugs.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approves all generic drugs under strict guidelines, including checking for the generic drug's chemistry by evaluating its formulation, potency, stability, and purity. The generic drug must also pass stringent evaluation to ensure that the delivery of the generic drug's active ingredient matches that of the brand name drug.

The main differences between brand name and generic drugs are cost, name, and looks. 

  • On average, generic drugs often cost 30 to 50 percent less than their brand name counterparts. While the cost to consumers is reduced, the quality and effectiveness of the generic drug consistently meets FDA standards.
  • A generic drug is always referred to by its chemical name, or active ingredient, rather than the name it was given by the brand name company.
  • In the U.S., trademark laws do not allow a generic drug to look exactly the same as a brand name drug even though the active ingredients are exactly the same.

    Based on how your physician writes your prescription - or the state in which you live - a generic drug may automatically be given to you.

    Source: National Institute on Health, CVS