Aggrenox (Dipyridamole/Acetylsalicylic Acid) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Aggrenox
Aggrenox is a combination of aspirin and dipyridamole, which is used to treat patients who have blood clot related disorders. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug, which reduces substances that cause inflammation, pain, and fever in the body. Dipyridamole is an anti-coagulant, which keeps the blood platelets from clumping together or forming clots. In most cases, Aggrenox is used to prevent the formation of sudden accidental clots that may cause a stroke in patients with blood clot related disorders.
Side Effects for Aggrenox
For people who buy Aggrenox, it is particularly important to be aware of the various side effects the drug can cause. Most often, these are not very serious and should not be a cause for concern. The most common reported side effects of Aggrenox include headaches, drowsiness, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, and cases of an upset stomach and diarrhea. Symptomatic treatment is usually enough to bring these conditions under control.
However, if people experience sudden, more severe side effects, it is imperative to bring this to the immediate attention of a doctor. Possible side effects of this nature include weakness, severe nausea, severe stomach aches, joint pain, high fever, and ringing in the ears. Patients may also experience allergic reactions like sudden swelling of the tongue, throat, and lips. These are serious symptoms that need to be dealt with immediately.
Before using Aggrenox, you should discuss your medical history in detail with your doctor. For people with a history of liver disease, kidney disorders, heart disease, low blood pressure, or stomach ulcers, it is important to ascertain whether it is possible to administer Aggrenox. The medication is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. People who have at any point been allergic to either aspirin or dipyridamole should avoid Aggrenox altogether. Particular care should be taken while administering this medication to people who have asthma or a history of strokes. Alcohol consumption should also be avoided while on Aggrenox treatment. It is also particularly important to keep a watch on supplements and other over the counter medications while taking this drug.
For people taking Aggrenox, the dosage is usually decided by the doctor keeping in mind the condition of the patient and his/her medical history. Aggrenox usually comes in the form of an oral capsule, which needs to be taken as it is, and not chewed or crushed in any way. In the event of an overdose, a doctor should be consulted immediately and appropriate measures should be taken. It is also a bad idea to take an additional dose of Aggrenox in the case of a missed dose.
Most other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been known to have reactions with Aggrenox. These include ibuprofen, ketaprofen, meloxicam, and other such medications. People undergoing treatment for Alzheimer’s disease should be particularly careful with using Aggrenox. If you are taking medications for seizure or gout, or have been asked to take diuretics, take special care to avoid complications arising due to drug interactions with Aggrenox.
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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.