Whats in a name!

Apparently a lot.

Its not just what IS in a name, but what isn’t.

80% of those suffering Adrenal Insufficiency are because of an Autoimmune condition.  Generally, if it’s autoimmune you will have other conditions as well.

These conditions need to be taken into account when drugs are prescribed.

In New Zealand we have Government Subsidies to pay for medications.  As long as the medication is on the list approved by Pharmac then it costs $5.00 each time you get a script.  Derek normally gets enough Hydrocortisone for 3 months at a time.

The catch with this is he is limited to one brand, and only one brand.

Derek’s Adrenal Insufficiency is not autoimmune thankfully, but his Antiphospholipid Syndrome is.  With Derek’s warfarin he is given options of original or generic brand.  There are two option, so if he has problems or side effects on one, he can change to the other.

With his HC there is no second option.  Thankfully, he seems to be OK on the brand we have in New Zealand.

We have learned through forums that we are very lucky he can handle the brand we get here.  I am hearing more and more about people in other countries that rely on medical insurance companies that dictate what brand they should use, and generally it seems to be the cheapest brand available.

After a new drug has been out for 10 years other pharmaceutical companies can make the medication.  These Generic brands must have the same active ingredient, but the fillers can be and normally are different.  It is these fillers that can cause health problems.

With an Addisonian, that can be deadly.  If you have a reaction to one of the fillers, or the amount of active ingredient is even slightly off it can make a big difference to your health.
Imagine taking a tablet 3-4 times a day that is very slowly causing a negative impact on your body.  At first you think you are having a bad day, you take more medication, you feel a little worse.  After a while you find you are in crisis and you don’t know why.

This is happening regularly to people around the world.

We so often take the tablets we are prescribed,  without finding out what we are taking, thinking the medication is good for us.

If it is like Derek’s Hydrocortisone, and it is crucial to life, then we need to be careful that he doesn’t have a reaction, even a small one.  It could kill him.

Original Brand medications are very tightly monitored to ensure the least possible side effect.  Generic brands are not so carefully monitored.

If you are prescribed medication ask if it is the original or generic?  And ask what the “fillers” are in the drugs.  If you have any type of allergy or intolerance, make sure the person prescribing the drug knows what they are prescribing.

5 thoughts on “Whats in a name!

  1. I don’t have Addison’s, but have a lot of other issues. I have to take many medications, and most I get in generic, if I had to get them all in name brand I wouldn’t be able to afford them, as it is now my monthly prescriptions run over $200, sometimes more depending on how I’ve felt.
    The fillers in drugs can be very dangerous to a lot of people. People with Celiac disease, can’t have any form of gluten….they are using this less as a filler, but it’s still out there. I’ve noticed that often Lactose is a filler ingredient. There are so many people who cannot tolerate lactose, I don’t know how they ever find medication.
    I can’t have gluten, and I can’t have fructose….I really have to watch it. I have fructose malabsorption, it is not as serious as Hereditary Fructose Intolerance, if you have HFI you often don’t live past childhood, doctor’s simply don’t have a clue what is wrong, and if they are giving you medication with it in there…they are simply killing you faster. Most liquid medication has fructose.
    I don’t know if it will help in NZ, but I use a site called Pillbox to look up my meds. http://pillbox.nlm.nih.gov/ It’s not perfect, but I can usually find my medication, and it list all the ingredients by manufacturer. (Use the advanced search, the Quick search is not quick!)
    Thank you for discussing this.

  2. My brand name has changed several times over the years, but never noticed any difference. BUT, I have been feeling particularly well as of late, and I wonder if it is because of the brand name drug I am taking now. I will look into this. The biggest problem I have had is the mg size. Every once in a while they send me 20 mg which is not good for me because I have to break it into 4 pieces, which doesn’t make for a good measured dose.


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