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Wellbutrin. Generic Alternatives. Walgreens and CVS now get to choose.


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Most of us know from our own experience that not all generics are equal, especially when it comes to bupropion.  From my own experience, not many of them are very good.  However, the FDA says that these generics are "bio-equivalent" to brand name Wellbutrin.  

What many of us don't know is that bio-equivalency can be anywhere between 85% - 125% of the active ingredient.  That's a big difference.  We also know that all fillers aren't the same.  We don't all react well to different fillers used in these drugs that are supposed to be the same as the brand name.  This isn't just true of bupropion, but can be true of other medications, not all of them are psychotropic drugs.

Pharmacists are well aware of the fact that some people can't tolerate certain generics or don't do well on brands of generics other than the one they have been on.  The manufacturer can make a big difference in some cases.

However, since the FDA says that all generics are bio-equivalent to brand name drugs, Walgreens and CVS now have an edict that customers cannot ask for a specific generic as we've been able to do in the past.  What I mean by specific generic is the manufacturer.  They can change the manufacturer of your generic medication from one month to the next.  Your pills for the same prescription may look different from one month to the next.  Walgreens and CVS will usually go with whatever is cheapest for them.  If you have insurance, your co-pay for the medication may stay the same, regardless of what generic they give you.

If you find that you can tolerate one generic (manufacturer) better than another, find a pharmacy that will get that particular generic for you.  If you have insurance, they can provide you with a list of pharmacies that are in-network.  Usually, smaller pharmacies, family-owned pharmacies, and independent pharmacies will help you out and many of them will be in-network.

So if you find that you're having different reactions to your medications from one month to the next, check out the pills and see if they are the same as the ones you had the month or months before. 

Remember, Walgreens and CVS can give you any generic from any manufacturer that they want to, and they can change it whenever they want to.   

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