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Generic Birth-Control Frustrations
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shannon9585 posted:
I'll warn you right now that this is a little bit of a rant / need to vent, but I'd also like to know if anyone else feels this way:[br>[br>I've been on the birth control pill for over 8 years, on Ortho Tri-Cyclen for about 7 years. I've taken the name brand and several generics. I know that generic drugs must have the same active ingredients as the name brand; however the inactive ingredients are different and I DO have different side-effects with different brands/generics. Having been on the pill for so long and taking it every day, I notice when my body reacts differently to different drugs.[br>[br>I just got my prescription filled today at a new pharmacy with new insurance, and I was a given a generic I've never taken before - Glenmark norgestimate ethinyl estradiol tablets. After getting home and searching on this generic, I realized this was a label that issued a recall a few months ago for packing the pills in the reverse order. I called the pharmacy to see if they carried a different generic, preferably Tri-Nessa since I have virtually NO side effects on Tri-Nessa. The pharmacist said Glenmark is the only one they carry but that it's the same as any other. SO FRUSTRATING! I KNOW it's the same active ingredients but (1) I'm concerned about this label due to the recent recall issue and (2) I don't want to experience new side effects on yet another different generic.[br>[br>With name brand OTC and Tri-Sprintec, I tend to have more break-through bleeding and more frequent headaches. I don't have those problems with Tri-Nessa. [br>[br>Why don't pharmacists realize that side-effects may vary on different generics? Whenever I ask which kind of generic a pharmacy carries, I always get an attitude as if I am stupid for asking. I get the same 'generics are the same' spiel every time.[br>[br>So, I'm yet again trying a different generic, hoping to have no side effects. Anyone taking Glenmark? Anyone experience different side effects on different generics (I know I'm not the only one)? Anyone have tips for dealing with pharmacists when they always seem to frustrate you for asking about generics?
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Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear shannon: I have not used the generic version of OrthoTri-Cyclen that you current insurance covers. You had an excellent idea in asking if that pharmacy carried another generic version which you have used more successfully in the past.

It is also true that many women have written us about having different side effect profiles when changing from brand name to generic--or between generics for the same formula. For some support in your experience check out our popular discussion on Yaz vs Gianvi:

http://forums.webmd.com/3/gynecology-exchange/forum/17823

Over the years pharmacists have been educated that some types of generics do not always translate across the board when a patient is switched from a brand name (or between generic versions). Unfortunately, at this time birth control pills (BCPs) are not included in this category whereas thyroid supplements are. So pharmacists do know that generics can differ, but until there is good published data about predictable differences they will likely fall in line behind FDA approved generics as all being the same.

It is reasonable to try this Glenmark version for three cycles and see how it effects you. If there are problems some insurance companies may accept a letter from your GYN stating you need a different generic version.

Yours,
Jane


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