Isoptin (Verapamil Hydrochloride) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Isoptin
Isoptin is used for the treatment of angina (chest pain), hypertension (high blood pressure), and certain types of abnormal rapid heart rhythms. This drug belongs to a group of medicines called calcium channel blockers (CCBs). Like other drugs in its group, Isoptin or Verapamil works by preventing the entry of calcium in the coronary artery and other blood vessels. Calcium is the substance that causes the contraction of arterial walls, which, in turn, causes chest pain, high blood pressure, and fast/irregular heartbeat.
Side Effects for Isoptin
Common and less serious side effects of Isoptin are: rashes, itching, nausea, tiredness, mild dizziness, mild headache, and constipation. Continue to use the medicine as directed by your doctor even if you experience any of these symptoms. However, you should consult your doctor if any of the aforementioned symptoms persist or worsen.
Less common, but serious side effects of this drug are: unusually slow or fast heartbeat, severe or persistent nausea/headache, sudden and unexplained weight gain, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, pain in the abdominal area, dark colored urine, black or tarry stools, symptoms of jaundice (eye or skin becoming yellow), and loss of appetite.
In rare cases, Verapamil may trigger a serious allergic reaction. Stop using the medication and seek emergency medical help if you notice: breathing problems, hives, and itching/swelling of the face, throat, tongue, or lips.
You should not use this drug if: (1) you have recently suffered a heart attack, (2) you are allergic to it, (3) you suffer from certain heart ailments (such as sick sinus syndrome), and (4) you have hypotension (low blood pressure). Also, remember to inform your doctor about your medical history, especially if you have a history of heart failure, kidney disease, neuromuscular disease, and liver disease.
It is unclear whether this medicine can harm an unborn child. So, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during treatment, then you must first consult your doctor. As this drug is excreted into breast milk, nursing mothers should first consult their doctor before taking this medicine.
You must take this drug as directed by your doctor. The usual dosage is Isoptin 180-480 mg per day.
There are many drugs that may interact with this medicine, such as: beta-blocker drugs (Blocadren, Tenormin, Ziac, Zebeta, InnoPran, Toprol, Inderal, Lopressor, Sotalol, and others), lovastatin (Advicor and others), simvastatin (Vytorin, Simcor, Zocor), cancer medicines (Cytoxan, Oncovin, Matulane, Adriamycin, Platinol, Matulane, Neosar, and others), HIV/AIDS drugs (Norvir, Rescriptor, Viracept, Crixivan, Lexiva, Kaletra, and others), clonidine (Clorpres), digoxin (Lanoxicaps, digitals, Lanoxin), antifungal medicines (Vfend, Diflucan, Sporanox, Xolegal, Ketozole, Extina, and others), theophylline (Uniphyl, Elixophyllin, and others), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, and others), sedatives (Versed, Halcion), certain antibiotics (Biaxin, Ketek, Rifadin, E-Mycin, Rimactane, Ery-Tab, Rifater, Erythrocin, and others), seizure medications (Solfoton, Tegretol , Carbatrol), and lithium (LithoBid).
The aforementioned list is only a partial list of drugs that can interact with this medicine. Before you buy Isoptin, inform your doctor about all the medications, including prescription-based, over-the-counter, and herbal drugs that you are using.
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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.