Zofran (Ondansetron Hydrochloride) and/or alternatives
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General Information On Zofran
Zofran is a medication for preventing vomiting or nausea that occurs after a surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer. The generic name of this drug is ondansetron. It belongs to the group of antiemetic medications, and you can buy Zofran as an oral tablet or an oral solution. Zofran works by preventing the action of chemicals in your body that trigger vomiting and nausea. It may also be used for other medical purposes if it has been prescribed by the doctor.
Side Effects for Zofran
An allergic reaction to Zofran is characterized by swelling of the face, throat, lips and tongue, hives, and difficulty breathing. Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical assistance if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction.
Serious side effects may occur after taking Zofran, but they are very rare. In case they do occur, stop taking the medication and inform your doctor as soon as possible. These serious side effects include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Slow heartbeat
- Blurred vision or temporary loss of vision that can last from a few minutes to many hours
- Agitation and anxiety
- Feeling like passing out
- Little or no urine
Mild side effects may also occur, but tell your doctor if they worsen or persist for a long time. These side effects include diarrhea or constipation, fever, headache, drowsiness, fatigue and dizziness.
You must not buy Zofran if you have suffered from an allergic reaction to ondansetron or medications like Dolasetron, Palonosetron and Granisetron. You must also inform your doctor if you have a family or personal history of Long QT syndrome. Be careful while driving or performing any activity that requires alertness, because Zofran may impair your reaction or thinking. Zofran is not known to harm an unborn child, but inform your doctor beforehand if you are pregnant. Do not take this medication if you are breastfeeding unless you have consulted your doctor. Zofran should not be taken by any child who less than 4 years old.
This medication is available as Zofran 4mg, which is a white, film-coated and oval tablet that contains 4mg of ondansetron. Zofran 8mg is a yellow colored tablet with the equivalent of 8mg of ondansetron. The oral solution of Zofran is a clear and colorless or light yellow liquid. 5ml of this solution contains 4mg ondansetron. Zofran must be taken exactly as prescribed by the doctor. The medication may be taken before or after food. You must take the tablet along with a full glass of water. The oral solution must be measured with a special spoon or a cup designed for measuring doses. You must not use a regular tablespoon for measuring the oral solution.
Zofran is known to interact with certain medications that include Phenytoin, Carbamazepine, Phenobarbital, Tramadol, and Rifampin. Inform your doctor about all the prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications you are taking or have taken.
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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.