Generic Drugs

Generic drugs

What is a ‘generic’ drug?

When a drug company makes a new medicine, it is controlled under a patent. It has an approved, or generic name, as well as its own brand name, chosen by the company. Once the patent runs out, other drug companies can make the drug at a lower cost. These are called ‘generic’ drugs. The NHS always tries to use generic drugs. In the UK there are strict quality controls for both branded and generic versions of medicines. When your medication changes to a generic preparation it is nothing to worry about – the drug is the same and of the same quality.

What will change?

The box the tablets or capsules come in will look different to the branded version. The shape, size and colour of the tablets or capsules may also be different.

How should I take the generic drug?

You should take the generic drug in exactly the same way as you took your branded drug.

How do I switch to the new tablet?

Once you have used up your current supply of branded drug you can switch to the generic drug at your next scheduled dose.

Will there be any side effects when I switch?

Generally people do not experience any side effects when they switch as the active drugs are the same. Rarely some people may experience some minor side effects when they take a different version of a tablet or capsule, however these should settle quickly. Please speak to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse if you experience any new side effects.

If you have any further questions about generic drugs please contact your clinic doctor, pharmacist or nurse.