Norvasc (Amlodipine Besylate) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Norvasc
Norvasc is a medication that belongs to a group of drugs referred as Calcium Channel Blockers, or CCBs. This medicine, like other CCBs, helps in improving blood flow by relaxing blood vessels. Norvasc is used to treat high blood pressure or Angina (chest pain). It may also be used to treat conditions that occur as a result of a coronary artery disease. The generic name of this drug is Amlodipine. This medicine is prescribed for patients who are 6 years old or above.
Side Effects for Norvasc
Seek emergency medical assistance and stop your Norvasc medication if you experience an allergy reaction after taking this medicine. Symptoms of an allergic reaction are hives, difficulty breathing, and swollen tongue, throat, lips or face.
Other side effects of Norvasc include swelling in the feet, ankles and hands, pounding heartbeat or fluttering of the chest, and feeling like passing out. In addition to the above, you may experience nausea, sweating, chest pain or pain that spreads to your arms and shoulder. Stop taking Amlodipine and inform your doctor immediately if you notice any of these serious side effects.
This medication may also cause mild side effects such as headache, fatigue, stomach pain and drowsiness, dizziness and flushing. Inform your doctor as soon as possible if these side effects worsen or persist for a long time.
You must not buy Norvasc if you have an allergy to Amlodipine. Inform your doctor in advance if you have a liver disease, congestive heart failure, or a heart valve problem. Presence of any of these conditions, may convince your doctor to modify the dosage.
This medication may or may not be dangerous to an unborn child. Consult with your doctor before you buy Norvasc if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Do not breastfeed a baby without consulting your doctor if you are taking Norvasc.
You must buy Norvasc exactly as directed by your doctor. This medication is available as an oral tablet and is available in three strengths Norvasc 2.5mg, Norvasc 5mg and Norvasc 10mg. Which strength is right for you will be determined by your doctor. The recommended dosage is once per day. Depending on your response to the treatment, your doctor may increase your dosage.
Usually, Norvasc is prescribed as a part of a complete treatment program that also includes diet, exercise and weight control. Chest pains may increase during the initial stages Norvasc treatment. You should inform your doctor if the severity of the chest pain increases or if it persists.
High blood pressure (also referred to as hypertension) patients may have to take Norvasc for rest of their life. Even if your condition improves, do not stop your medication, unless directed by your doctor.
Norvasc may interact with other medications that you are taking. This is why it is necessary that you inform your doctor about all the medications you are using, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines such as vitamins, minerals and other health supplements. Also, while you are using this drug, consult your doctor before starting any medication.
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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.