Accolate (Zafirlukast) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Accolate
Accolate is used in the treatment of asthma. The drug falls under a category of drugs known as leukotriene inhibitors, and its generic name is Zafirlukast. Like other drugs of its class, Accolate works by suppressing leukotrienes, a group of chemicals that our body releases when we breathe in an allergen. Leukotrienes cause our lungs to swell and the muscles around our airways to tighten. This, in turn, leads to the development of asthma symptoms.
Do not use Accolate to treat an acute asthma attack as the drug takes time to work. In most cases, Accolate takes 3-14 days before inducing positive results. The drug is available as an oral tablet in Accolate 10mg or Accolate 20mg strengths. The active ingredient in the drug is Zafirlukast, while magnesium stearate, croscarmellose sodium, lactose, microcrystalline cellulose, titanium dioxide, hypromellose, and povidone are the inactive ingredients. Accolate is a prescription-based drug, meaning you can buy Accolate only if a doctor has prescribed this drug for your treatment.
Side Effect for Accolate
You may experience the following mild side effects after taking Accolate: diarrhea, weakness, stomach pain, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or dizziness. Consult your doctor if any of these symptoms exacerbate or persist for a long time.
Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects after taking Accolate: new asthma symptoms, worsening asthma symptoms, fever, mood/mental changes, insomnia, nausea, muscle weakness, stomach ache, dark-colored urine, black or tarry stools, loss of appetite, or yellowing of your eyes or skin.
You should seek immediate medical attention if Accolate triggers an allergic reaction. Common symptoms associated with an allergic reaction are: hives, swelling of the lips, face, tongue, or throat, rashes, itching, wheezing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing.
You should not buy Accolate if you are allergic to any of the ingredients used in its formulation. To ensure that the drug is safe for you, inform your doctor about your medical history, especially if you have or have had phenylketonuria, an inherited disorder characterized by high levels of phenylalanine in the blood.
The safety of this drug in pregnant women has not been established. If you are pregnant, you must consult your doctor before using Accolate. The drug may harm a nursing child, so you should not take Accolate if you are nursing a baby.
For adults and children aged 12 years or above, the recommended dosage is one tablet of Accolate 20mg twice per day. For children aged between 5-11 years, the recommended dosage is one tablet of Accolate 10 mg twice per day. Food reduces the bioavailability of Accolate. So, do not take your dose with food. You should take this drug at least 1 hour before a meal or 2 hours after a meal.
You should not take certain drugs along with Accolate. Drugs such as phenytoin, tolbutamide, aspirin, blood thinner drugs, erythromycin, and carbamazepine are known to interact with Accolate. In addition to the above, some other drugs may also cause complications when taken with Zafirlukast. Before starting treatment, inform your doctor about all the drugs that you are taking. This includes all non-prescription, herbal, and prescription-based drugs
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.