Combipatch (Estradiol/Norethindrone Acetate) and/or alternatives
No Generic Alternative.
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General Information on Combipatch
Combipatch is a combination of two drugs used for treating menopausal symptoms in women. Such symptoms may include hot flashes, vaginal burning, dryness, or itching, and burning or difficulty while urinating. Norethindrone and Estradiol are generic names of the two drugs used in Combipatch, and they belong to the class of hormone replacement drugs. This medicine is available as a patch, which has to be applied on the patient’s skin. These patches work by reducing estrogen in the patient’s body, a hormone that the ovaries no longer produce after menopause. Other than this, your doctor may also ask you to buy Combipatch in order to make up for the body’s lack of estrogen. Such conditions may include primary ovarian failure, removal of the ovaries, or hypogonadism. This drug is not meant for women whose uterus has been removed.
Side Effects for Combipatch
A majority of Combipatch users complain of breast enlargement, swelling of the feet or hands, difficulty wearing contact lenses, spotty darkening of the skin, vaginal discomfort or irritation, and changes in menstrual cycle. Most of these side effects are easily manageable and improve on their own as your body gets used to the drug. Using estrogen for a long time can increase your risks of stroke, heart attack, blood clots in the legs or lungs, and breast cancer. Estradiol may also increase your risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia, which may result in the cancer of the uterine lining. Therefore, you should discuss the risks involved with your doctor before you buy Combipatch.
If you are suffering from uterine, breast, or hormone dependent cancer, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding or blood clotting, or bleeding or circulation disorders, then using Combipatch may prove to be dangerous for you. You should also inform your doctor if you have a kidney, liver, or gall bladder disease, diabetes, epilepsy, migraines, depression, asthma, uterine fibroids, or if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Under such circumstances, he/she will need to conduct some special tests to make sure Combipatch is the right medication for you.
Pregnant women are not advised to use Combipatch, as the drugs involved in it may harm the unborn baby. As the medication may decrease the flow of breast milk and affect your milk composition, you should not use it if you are breastfeeding a child. It may be harmful for your nursing baby.
This drug is available as Combipatch 0.05/0.14mg and 0.05/0.25mg Estradiol/ Norethindrone. The patch is applied to a dry and clean area on the lower abdomen. Make sure that the skin is not oily, irritated or damaged. It should not be applied on the patient’s waistline or breasts, where the clothes may rub against it. You will need to replace the patch 2 in a week. Try to change the site of the patch every week.
Before using Combipatch, you should inform your doctor if you are already taking anticoagulants such as warfarin. You should also tell him/her if you are taking other hormone replacement medicines at present, whether in oral, topical, or injection form.
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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.