Prevacid (Lansoprazole) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Prevacid
People suffering from hyper-acidity of the stomach and frequent heartburn are generally prescribed Prevacid to decrease acid levels in the stomach. Prevacid is composed of Lansoprazle, a drug belonging to the group of proton pump inhibitors. Prevacid is also prescribed for the treatment of ulcer formations in the intestine and can come handy to provide relief from esophageal damage due to acidity. It is a prescription drug which can be taken orally as capsules.
Side Effects of Using Prevacid
Prevacid has been known to show a number of varying side effects with every user. The common complaints that accompany Prevacid usage are bloating, constipation and diarrhea associated with clostridium difficile. Stomach pains, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, sore tongue, physical weakness and numbness in the hands and feet are some of the rarer symptoms associated with Prevacid usage.
Serious reactions to Prevacid are not common. There may be rash outbreaks, itching, swelling and breathing trouble along with dizziness in some people taking Prevacid. This is due to an allergy to the active ingredient lansoprazle, which is the main constituent of the medicine.
Proton-pump inhibitors such as Lansoprazle are often the cause of hip fractures, and frequent use can lead to an increased risk of pneumonia. A person who takes this medicine should take appropriate precautions to prevent such incidences.
As mentioned above, Lansoprazle in Prevacid can put you at risk of hip fractures. Patients prescribed Prevacid should inform their doctors of any pre-existing calcium deficiency or osteoporosis problem. Those suffering from liver disease or stomach disorders should also inform their doctors beforehand. In case the use of Prevacid causes heartburn, dizziness, body aches or sudden weight loss, the doctor should be informed immediately. Pregnant women should buy Prevacid only if the acidity condition is serious. Whether or not this drug passes into breast milk is not known, but it is better not to take chances.
Prevacid is available as a delayed release capsule. They disintegrate orally and are available in Prevacid 15mg and Prevacid 30mg doses. The capsules are usually taken before meals and should be used only once within twenty four hours. A course of Prevacid typically runs for 14 days. You should wait for four months between courses to prevent damage due to the overuse of Prevacid.
Interactions of Prevacid
Ingestion of Prevacid can hamper the effectiveness of a few drugs that are absorbed by stomach acids. Ampicillin, azole antifungals, and iron supplements are all absorbed by stomach acids, and in case you are using one of these, your doctor should know about it. Prevacid may also keep Digoxin from being absorbed into your bloodstream. Consult your doctor if you are on Digoxin, but do not stop or start any drug without your doctor’s approval, as doing so may cause more harm than good.
If you are using Sucralfate, it can prevent Prevacid from working properly. The common option is to provide a gap of thirty minutes between Sucralfate use and Prevacid. However, it is best to leave such decisions to the doctor instead of experimenting with self-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.