Is it just me or do you worry when you're given different brands of medication?

Picked up my prescription and the methotrexate looked totally different. Much bigger pills with no identifying marks at all, dispensed in a brown bottle (the ones with the child/ra proof lids). The booklet I was given when first prescribed mtx said it is dispensed in 2.5 mg and 10mg tablets so always be careful to check the correct dose has been given but this is difficult when there's no numbers or anything on the pills. Being paranoid I phoned the pharmacist and confirmed that they were indeed 2.5 mg tablets. Can different brands bring with them different side effects or be less/more effective? It makes my brain ache just thinking about it.

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  • When I was taking MTX I was given a different packet to the ones the hospital prescribed and asked the pharmacist the same question as you, his reply was the dosage etc was the same. I discovered that those ingredients were not and the GP agreed with me as I reacted badly to those, I then had to ring round all the local pharmacy's to find the one who could give me the correct ones supplied by the hospital. Once I was back on those it was fine until MTX no longer worked for me.

  • That doesn't surprise me at all George. I remember reading something similar about levothyroxine recently and how people were doing less well on different brands. Hopefully I won't see any difference and have to make a fuss. x

  • Hi Paula. sorry to hear that you have been having problem. They may be a generic different make. If you have side effect from them you can ask for the ones you are used to. I had the same problem with my tamoxofen and always asked for the one I used to use. The pharmacist said their was no difference, I told her she was not taking it, but I was. So no argument.:-)

    Due to start anti tnf humira in 4 weeks.

  • Good for you for standing up for yourself :-) Great news about the Humira too, hopefully you'll find it a wonder drug and feel much better.....fingers crossed x

  • always stick to one phamacy and brand if possible - the doctors will argue until threy are blue in the face that brands and generics are the same but they aren't - different manufacturers use different carriers and bulking agents in our tablets and it can affect the way the drugs are absorbed.

    there was something on the news about generic drugs for hiv not being as effective as the brand named drug.

    many asthmatics notice that they use more doses of the cheap reliever inhalor too to get the same effect.

    i used to be in tears with heartburn and headaches if i was given the all green fluoxatine (sp?) instead of the 'real' yellow and green prozac - this is serious - it's not just about being parky and wanting the brand rather than the cheaper drug - there is a difference!

    any new side effects need to be reported and if possible get the yellow card form from the pharmacist and fill it in (or do it online by googling 'yellow card prescription drugs') and flag the generic drug as causing more side effects for you.

    i feel strongly about this - its disgraceful that we are fobbed off and have to suffer more side effects because of cheap and nasty side effects - the more us us who report side effects the more likely we will be taken seriousy and given the brand names with less side effects.

    we are ill enough to need to pump our bodies with drugs we shouldn't have to suffer the effects of cheap and nasty generics on top of that.

  • Thanks for your reply rattus. It does seem to be common sense that our bodies should do better on a single brand of drug instead of chopping and changing. These tablets to be honest even look cheap. I recently swapped from Boots to Medix for my prescriptions but I'm thinking about going back to Boots as at least they were consistent with their brands.

    Paula x

  • i'm using boots at the moment - they seem to have the best quality prescriptions.

    the pharmacist doesn't have to give you the brand name - just the drug on your prescripton so if you've been prescribed asprin you'll probably be given boots asprin instead of anadin because it's a lot cheaper and the phamacy is trying to save themselves money (they lose money if they give everyone the brand name) but you can offer to pay the difference to get your anadin dispenced if you want it, so if anadin costs five pound fifty and asprin is fifty pence you pay the five pound and the pharmacy pays 50p - they would get the prescription reimbursed from the nhs but not if they were asking for five fifty for every asprin prescription when they could have given you it for fifty pence - its all about costs and saving money.

    before i got my inhalors at boots i used to ask to pay more for allen and hanburys ventolin inhalor instead of those awful spanish salmol imports.

    also when drug companys develop a drug they spend a fortune testing it and making sure that its safe for us, that's one reason why brands are supposed to be more expensive but i think that they use better ingredients too and are better made but thats just my opinion.

    i'm not sure, but i think when a new drug is developed a patent order of some kind stops other companys making a generic version for something like 20 years and when that time is up other companies can produce and sell their version for much cheaper because a lot of the tests and trials on the new drug have already been done and the 'copycat' brand doesn't need to pay to repeat them all.

    i don't know what methorexate's generic brand is or if methotrexate is the generic name for something else - i get mine from the hospital and so far i've only had the 2.5mg yellow ones - i still haven't gotten over the fear of taking them never mind having to worry about suddenly developing new side effects from a cheap and nasty import - and a lot of generics are appaulling quality! those samol inhalors are ridiculous! if i was given different mtx tablets and got side effects i'd probably not dare take mtx again..

    i suppose if they make you feel worse you could hand them back to the pharmacist and go back to your doctor and explain that they've made you feel so ill that you handed them back and you need a fresh prescription.

    i'm too wary of things like this - my mam was given the wrong dose of painkillers by a dozy pharmacy once and nearly over dosed on them so you are right to be careful.

  • The ones i have now came in a bottle that i couldn't even open and the previous ones were in a box and they have stopped using the 10mg and now i am supposed to take 10 of the 2.5. (yuch) I remember once getting a prescription and they looked like huge antibiotics and i took them back saying they didn't look at all like mtx and i was told they were, they eventually gave me my prescription back to get elsewhere as i made such a fuss. I have asked at various places if you can get them in capsule form that look like antibiotics and they didn't know so it is very worrying and i often wonder what they were if they were not mtx.

  • There is no difference between branded and unbranded ...... just ones confidence in using them! Some people are only happy taking what they see advertised. Personally, I always go for the cheapest over the counter drug, (except herbal remedies, sometimes these vary, in the quality of the herb/plant,) BUT, the medical board wouldn't pass 'any' prescribed alternative drug if there were variations from the dose. 250mg of something on a tv ad' is the same as a 250mg unbranded equivalent. If you don't like the taste of something like calcium then there are alternatives to try, so just ask yr GP. If you have to lots of tablets to make up a dose then when you next order a script from yr chemist, stipulate you only want the one tablet to take, they will then order you the one tablet and not make it up from what they already have. Always check your drugs infront of your chemist, as once you leave their sight, they won't change them, they just burn them and ask you to order another script from yr GP :o)

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