The Rise Of Generic Drugs
More than 80% of American adults take at least 1 type of medication, supplement, or otherwise. Almost 70% use prescription drugs. The rising cost of medicine has also seen a rise in the use of generic drugs. Generics are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications with no brand names. These drugs are expected to have the same characteristics in terms of safety, dosage, quality, and therapeutic effect. While these therapies are effective, generic medications take on a standardized approach. Even brand-name counterparts aren’t suitable for everyone. Compound medication can customize a patient’s treatment, which can be a game-changer for long-term health and well-being.
Pros and cons of generics
For many, the most significant appeal of generic drugs is the lower cost. Some generics can cost as much as 80% less than branded counterparts. The price allows most people to keep up with therapies for longer. Most generics are also bioequivalent to brands, though there are cases of variance with the original manufacturer formula. However, generic drugs are inconsistent in appearance, pill size, and dose, which can change year-to-year. Generic drugs often look the same and can be confused with others, leading to non-adherence or overdosing. Some are also imported and may not meet quality standards, posing a risk to the user. In essence, the limitations and dangers of generic drugs sometimes outweigh the benefits.
Make it your own with compounding
What if there was a middle ground? By customizing treatment, patients can avoid expensive brand-name drugs while receiving higher-quality ingredients. With compounding, this is possible. Compounding is the process of customizing a prescription for a patient, allowing both the user and pharmacist to oversee the drug’s creation. For example, a compounding pharmacist will take high-quality core ingredients and create a drug or combine multiple medications into a more potent formula. Compared to generic medicines, compounding has several benefits.
Custom doses, better results
Some generic drugs have inconsistent doses. Others may contain a different amount than a patient needs for optimal health. Some medications may not even exist in a generic form. Compounding allows patients to get the exact dose needed to treat a condition or minimize symptoms. When the drug is customized, there are fewer side effects, and the patient can maintain medication adherence. Compounding may lead to better outcomes while being cost-effective.
Generic drugs can lead to using multiple prescriptions due to low cost and availability. Sometimes, these prescriptions lead to polypharmacy, where someone uses 5 or more medications daily. Polypharmacy can create dangerous side effects and runs the risk of drug-drug interactions. Compounding can limit drug use by reducing polypharmacy to 1-2 doses. The pharmacist can review the patient’s current list of medications, offer effective alternatives, compound the alternatives, and keep the patient healthy.
Beyond generic forms
Often, generic drugs come in a simple form, like pills or liquid, to keep costs lower. However, these forms may only be best for some patients. For instance, some people have difficulty swallowing tablets or may not like the taste of a liquid option. Compounding opens the door for other, more convenient forms of medication. A pharmacist can create a topical form, lozenge, patch, or pellet and even change the taste if desired.
Generic drugs are cheaper and easier to find. However, there are limitations to quality, dose, and flexibility. Everyone’s body and needs are different, and a generic approach can sometimes cause more harm than good. Compounding considers the patient’s specific needs, which is a more practical approach to treatment. Spending that extra time on compounded medications can help ensure the patient remains healthy and has an excellent quality of life.