Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cheaper and Equal?: The Deal with Generic Birth Control

Sometimes things that are on sale are awesome. Me, I follow the eleventh commandment of "Thou shall not pay retail prices." Sometimes though there is a reason things are in the bargain bin, like the pockets stick out funny.Where does generic birth control come into play here?

Many of us don't think twice when we get a script for antibiotics and get the generic stuff. I mean, why pay retail when it is the same thing. But does this logic work when it comes to birth control? There are women that have sworn that they have had terrible side effects when taking the generic brand.

Basically, generics are, according to the FDA, “copies of brand name drugs that have exactly the same dose, intended use, side effects, route of administration, risks, safety, and strength as the original drug.”  But sometimes generic versions may have different colors, or inactive ingredients. The FDA estimates that 50% of generic drug production occurs in the same plants used to manufacture the brand name drugs. Ok, so that sounds pretty good.

Here is where it gets sticky. One study found that 98% of individual generic drugs had absorptions that were less than 10% of the brand name. While that is something to think about, there have been no studies showing that this really makes much of a difference when it comes to the efficacy of birth control. Sometimes the generics are made in subpar manufacturing facilities (often in lower income companies), where they are unable to meet manufacturing standards made by the WHO. Nevertheless, there are instances of goof-ups in brand name drug manufacturing as well.

Bottom line, there have been no studies that have shown that there is a direct link between use of generic birth control and worse side effects or reactions to different fillers. So, if it is cheaper and you are feeling great - use that extra money to get yourself something pretty. If are on a generic brand and you are feeling like ass, try going to the brand name version and see if that helps. If that still doesn't make a difference, there are so many different birth control options these days that you should chat with your lady parts doc and try something else.

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