Combigan (Brimonidine Tartrate/Timolol Maleate) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Combigan
Combigan is prescribed for patients with eye problems like glaucoma and ocular hypertension. The medication is used to relieve high pressure caused by these diseases in the eyes. Prepared by combining Brimonidine and Timolol, the medication is effective in preventing serious conditions like blindness. Brimonidine is one of the alpha agonist drugs and is helpful in effectively draining out fluid from the eyes. Timolol, which is a beta blocker, is helpful in decreasing the amount of fluid in the eyes. Combigan should be used only if prescribed by a doctor.
Combigan Side Effects
Due to its serious side effects, Combigan is not prescribed for children. Some of the most common side effects associated with the medication include burning eyes, itching in the eyes, redness in the eyes, excessive water discharge, swelling of the eyes, and stinging in the eyes. Other commonly reported side effects include dry eyes, dry mouth, dizziness, and drowsiness. Less common side effects include double or blurred vision, inability to recognize colors, headache, nervousness, sensitivity toward light, and irregular heartbeat. Report the appearance of any of these signs after you start taking Combigan to your doctor.
If your eyes are prone to allergies, you must report the to your doctor before taking Combigan. Stop the medication immediately if you spot continuously red, swollen or watery eyes, as these may be the signs of an allergy. If you have a history of heart problems, lung disease, diabetes, asthma and/or depression, talk to your doctor. You must also tell your doctor the medications that you have been taking for any type of liver or kidney disorder, blood circulation disorder, and thyroid and muscle weakness issues. Avoid driving and working with machines extensively while using Combigan. You must inform your dentist about the use of this medication before undergoing any dentistry procedure.
Combigan is available in the form of eye drops. Make sure to buy Combigan from a reputed store and check the manufacturing and expiration dates. The dosage for Combigan is indicated on the label, but make sure to take it as prescribed by your doctor. In general, one drop of Combigan is recommended twice a day for an adult. Be careful in obtaining clear instructions about the dosage for children. Make sure that you store the eye drops at room temperature and away from exposure to moisture, heat, and light. Wash your hands properly before and after using the eye drops.
Combigan may have serious interactions with a number of medications. As a result, it is important to discuss other medications that you are taking with your doctor. MAO inhibitors and antidepressants, for example, are the two medication types that a doctor needs to know about before you take Combigan. Antidiabetic medications, high blood pressure medications, antihistamines and muscle relaxants too may interact with the medication. Psychiatric medications, pain relievers, and medications for treating seizures, anxiety, and sleeping disorders are other drugs that can possibly interact with Combigan and must be discussed with your doctor before you start using these eye drops.
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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.