Risperdal is going generic in June

I’ve been on Risperdal for about 14 years. I’ve been waiting for it to go generic for about 6 years. Patents used to be much shorter than they are now. For a long time I would try to find out when it was going to become generic because I wanted to save money. Now that the date is upon me I’ve learned a lot more since I first waited for the day that the generic would become available.

I’ve learned that generics are often not very much at all like the brand name in that our bodies can process the drug very differently because of inert ingredients. Since I’ve learned about this I’ve become increasingly nervous about that day in June this year that Risperdal goes generic. I’m only on .75 mg of Risperdal now, down from 11 mg, but its now at the tail end of the taper that it’s gotten really ugly—that minute changes feel gargantuan. So I read this article in today’s LA Times about loose FDA standards for generics with growing dread.

As the article says:

In almost all cases, the FDA permits a generic drug to release 80% to 125% of an active ingredient into the bloodstream, compared to that released in a single dose of the original medication. That range would make little practical difference in the effect that most drugs have. And the FDA and generics manufacturers defend the allowable range of variance as the same that is permitted among “batches” of brand-name drugs.

But medical and pharmacology specialists warn that the FDA’s range may be too broad for some drugs, especially in cases where a drug has a “narrow therapeutic index” — the fine line between an ineffective dose and a dangerous one.

And definately too broad when I’ve been cutting down by only 10% at a time. If the drug is 80% of what I’m taking that is a 20% cut without intending a reduction. It of course can work the other way and make coming off the drug a longer task and more difficult if it’s actually 125% of the brand name.

Anyway I knew all this already, but the article brought up my fears again. I’m on Medicare and they won’t be paying for my preference for the brand name. I have to hope for the best.

For more on this topic also from the LA Times see: Generics: Just as good?

Update: Risperdal will NOT be generic in June

Latest update: Risperdal available soon for SOME indications which remain a mystery

Comments

  1. Sloopy Cowbell says:

    You unearth some really important material, Gianna.

    Here in Britain, the NHS sources all kinds of dubious generic medications, to cut costs.

    For months, I was given a generic version of my meds that had Greek, rather than English labelling on the box and insert!

    I had to take it on trust that the drugs were genuine. It seems that sometimes that’s not always the case.

    I had no end of trouble getting Zyprexa a few months back. All the pharmacists said it was unavailable because of a “supply problem”.

    A quick search revealed that the NHS had been sourcing counterfeit Zyprexa from “parallel distributors”.

    Oh, my!

    Glad you got some sleep in the end.

    Maybe you’re ideologically opposed to the idea of drugging yourself to sleep, but I find Seven Seas’ herbal ‘Slumber Tablets’ are very effective.

    I suck the tablets before retiring, and often wake up in the morning with a mouth full of sludge.

    I must fall asleep very quickly before I’ve swallowed the tablets!

  2. Thanks, Sloopy, now I may have another sleep aid in my arsenal!
    I suffered through the nightmarish roller-coaster symptoms of hypo-thyroidism a few years back; now I am unwavering in my firm belief that I got a bad bottle of generic levothyroxine (the same brand I’d been taking for 12+ yrs)…
    So nowadays I suck it up & buy name-brand Synthroid; seems a small price to pay. I’ve also suffered w/chronic insomnia & have probably tried MOST of the OTC sleep aids + a couple of Rx’s…

  3. missisyphus says:

    i was recently told by my regular doc that the generic “wellbutrin XL” was not having the sustained release that brand labeled wellbutrinXL had…i haven’t read this and should have asked for some documentation… i’m off the wellbutrin now but it would be interesting to know where the info on this is.

  4. I have definitely noticed a difference with the generics. The People’s Pharmacy website did a show on it (you can find it on their website with a bunch of commentary from tons of people who experienced the difference.) There can also be a big difference among the generics…since they are all made in different countries, using different fillers, etc. I’m kind of surprised that it makes such a big difference, but it does.

  5. I understand your worry over the generic version of risperdal; I am a firm believer in the difference people [as myself]can feel a difference in the name brand vs. generic, and I always have doctors write ‘dispense as written’ on the scripts, due to the one time I found out the hard way that generic xanax XR gave me withdrawal symptoms when I had been on name brand for months. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, why I’d be feeling like that, and I looked at the pills and sure enough it wasn’t name brand, but looked like it. Though 10 bucks for generic and 40 for name brand is outrageous! and one of the reasons I’m getting off of it altogether, besides health reasons.

    Anyway, good luck with it, and I hope it doesn’t cause you any more grief in the withdrawal process, that you don’t need.

  6. Sloopy, that is unbelievable about the counterfeit Zyprexa, did you have to use another med until you found it?

  7. Oh sheesh. I never thought about this. Good call.

  8. I noticed that you said you are on 11mg of Risperdal.
    Am I reading that correctly?
    I’ve been on Risperdal for a long time, but I’ve never gone over 3mg/day.

    I hope I don’t sound too prying.

  9. I WAS on 11 mg…I’m down to .75 mg. 11 mg is an obscene and criminal amount…

    Any long term use is extremely suspect.

  10. laurlyns_mom says:

    My 2 cents worth:
    After watching my son suffer without meds, what a blessing it was to watch him return when prescribed Risperdone.

    Worked like a charm, but after week 2, what a terrible allergic rash!

    Devastated to find something that worked so well, that one couldn’t take.

    But alas, we were on generic. When our savvy doc said to insist on namebrand, presto! Excellent results, no side effects!

    I will really try to educate myself to the differences in composition, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

    But if generic works for your body, that’s great!

    I will now be insisting on namebrand where at all possible.

  11. I don’t know where you got generic Risperdal…it would have had to be black market…

    Risperdal is not generic yet and won’t be for quite a while.

    http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/risperdal-will-not-be-generic-in-june-2008/

  12. Praveen says:
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