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When it comes to medication for ADD/ADHD, as with so many other conditions, there is a huge range of available drugs. They come in different doses and forms. A drug may come in an extended release formula, a long acting formula, slow release formula and other variations.
Once a drug company loses the patent for a particular drug, then different companies are allowed to manufacture that drug in a generic form. This is what happens with many drugs for ADHD symptoms, and there is a huge difference between brand name drugs and their generic equivalents.
Consistent Blood Levels
One commonality among all drugs which ADD/ADHD diagnosed people discover is that the key to the drug's success lies in finding that exact dose that works for them. Once a doctor finds that right dose, the next obstacle is figuring out how to keep blood levels consistent.
When it comes to generic drugs, your pharmacy is stuck with whatever is available, and lately, there has been a shortage of many ADD/ADHD drugs. That means that, at any given time, the pharmacist may have generic equivalents of one drug from several different manufacturers.
It also means that when you go to get a new prescription every month, you may wind up getting a generic drug from a different manufacturer. Since stimulant ADHD drugs are schedule II drugs, you have to take a paper prescription to the pharmacy each time you need a refill.
The variation in formula between generic and brand name equivalents isn't supposed to vary more than about 15 percent. Since the consistency of the dose is so crucial for people with ADHD, that variation can make a huge difference, especially when you're taking a drug more than once a day.
If you start to feel as though your ADHD medication isn't working as effectively as it should, and you've been taking a generic equivalent, consider talking to your doctor and requesting that he/she indicates that the brand name drug is medically necessary next time you go to get a prescription.
Instead of increasing the dose of a generic equivalent, the solution may be as simple as going back to the brand name drug. If you have prescription coverage, the company will have to pay for the brand name, as long as your doctor specifically orders it. Although the co-payment will undoubtedly be slightly higher, it will be well worth the expense.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|