Q and A

Question

Are generics the same as brand-name drugs?

I live in South Africa and have recently been advised by my medical aid that they will be changing all Atripla patients to a generic drug called Tribuss.

This is because Tribuss is cheaper.

I have checked with my doctor and she advised that there is no reason to worry because it is almost the same thing – just that the other is a generic.

My concern was around side effects. I wanted to know if I should expect going through the side effects all over again.

My other question is what is the actual difference between the actual drug and a generic?

Answer

Your consultant has given you the good information about Tribuss.

The main difference between generics and brand-name drugs is just the cost. Generic drugs cost much less than brand-name counterparts.

The active ingredients for the generic and brnd versions are both the same.

Generic drugs might be a different shpae size or colour but they have the same activie ingredients. They are just as effective and also have the same risk of side effects.

Generic drugs are also carefully tested. They undergo similar strict regulations for safety and its effectiveness. In the UK, between 65% to 85% of all drugs prescribed by the NHS are generic.

In theory, you should not have any side effect problems, since they share the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs.  However, if you do get from side effects, please talk to your doctor.

This answer was lightly edited in January 2016 from an original answer in February 2012.

96 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Themba.

    If you live in South Africa, then yes. If you don’t live in South Africa, if you could tell me which country you live in I should be able to help you.

  2. Themba

    Hi. I would like to know if tribuss or odimune is available in government clinics?

  3. Simon Collins

    Please see this information on PEP.

  4. Daniel

    Is it save to use tribuss tablets after unsafe sex?

    Can it lower my chances of being infected if its taken in less than 72 hours?

  5. Simon Collins

    Whether you test or not is your decision. As you know you have been at risk, you already know why this is a good idea. Just because you have had unprotected sex with your partner who is HIV positive, does not mean that you are positive. You risk becoming positive if you continue to not use condoms. Knowing you HIV status now with be the only way to help with the anxiety of your current situation. Please encourage your partner to get the support they need to understand that HIV is treatable for most people.

  6. Simon Collins

    If these are somebody else’s medications, it is not a good idea to make assumptions which may or may not be right. Someone’s medical health is a private concern. It is usually better to talk about any worries though if you are worried about something.

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