I looked up the inactive ingredients in the generic “equivalents” I had been taking and compared them to the brand name drugs I was prescribed. In the table below, I organized the inactive ingredients list to clearly show which ingredients are shared by the different medications (Zoloft, the generic sertraline HCl I was taking, BuSpar, and the generic buspirone HCl I was taking).
I suspect that ingredients in italics are essentially the same chemical, but with slightly different names. There may be differences between them, but I’m inclined to think that any differences in their biological effects are relatively insignificant.
The ingredient in bold is only present in one medication; interestingly, the medication in question is the generic buspirone HCl. The only explanation I can come up with for why they’d randomly add sodium lauryl sulfate is because they need it in order to get the anhydrous (condensed) lactose to behave similarly to non-modified lactose during production. I find the presence of sodium lauryl sulfate in my medication disturbing, but haven’t found any information to suggest that it might’ve been interfering with the effectiveness of the medication or having noticeable adverse effects.
Ergo it seems likely that if inactive ingredients were limiting the effectiveness of my medications, switching from generic to brand wouldn’t help me much … unless differences in amounts or proportions are significant. I have no idea whether the amounts of the ingredients are the same across the included medications, but each medication had them listed in a different order.
Wakana sat me down at her computer, worked with me step-by-step to find a psychiatrist within reasonable driving distance who takes my insurance, and insisted that I call to make an appointment. I had to leave a message – to which I have yet to receive a reply – but at least I did something. I felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. And maybe finding out information about other organizations / programs that could help me will be similarly painless … especially if I can do a lot of it online.
One thing I’ll definitely be looking for as I conduct my search for a new psychiatrist will be strong knowledge of how inactive ingredients affect one’s response to a drug, particularly when that may cause significant differences between brand and generic. I need a psychiatrist who will take this concern seriously and be willing to fight to gain me access to the brand drug ze’s prescribing (instead of a generic “equivalent”) if necessary.
UPDATE: I’ve color-coded the inactive ingredients list to indicate possible concerns raised by Disorderly Chickadee in Generic Versus Brand: What’s In That Pill? Part Two. Many thanks once again to DeeDee for compiling the information. Trying to do so myself has been very difficult and frustrating.
- toxin, irritant, or other health risk
- animal product
- restricted by some religions
Sertraline HCl (50mg) Camber Pharm.
Buspirone HCl (15mg) Mylan Pharm.
|Dibasic calcium phosphate dihydrate||Dibasic calcium phosphate dihydrate|
|FD&C Blue #2 aluminum lake||FD&C Blue #2 / Indigo Carmine aluminum lake|
|Hydroxypropyl cellulose||Hydroxypropyl cellulose|
|Hydroxylpropyl methylcellulose||Hypromellose 3cP & Hypromellose 6cP|
|Magnesium stearate||Magnesium stearate||Magnesium stearate||Magnesium stearate|
|Microcrystalline cellulose||Microcrystalline cellulose||Microcrystalline cellulose||Microcrystalline cellulose|
|Polyethylene glycol||Macrogol / Peg 400|
|Polysorbate 80||Polysorbate 80|
|Sodium starch glycolate||Sodium starch glycolate||Sodium starch glycolate||Sodium starch glycolate|
|Titanium dioxide||Titanium dioxide|
|Colloidal silicon dioxide||Silicon dioxide|
|Sodium lauryl sulfate|