Yes, it’s been a while.
I have PTSD. I take medications for anxiety and depression. I refilled my anxiety medication prescription on April 15th. I noticed that the pills were a different color, called the pharmacy, and found out that the brand I’d been taking for more than two years has been recalled. Oh. Okay. All of my medications are generic. No big deal.
Within a week, I noticed constant, building background anxiety. Then irritability, unwillingness to exert myself, anticipatory anxiety, sleep difficulties, all slowly building towards a very bad place I don’t want to revisit.
Fortunately a tiny bit of my brain suggested I research this. What I found was bad.
About half the people who take the brand of anxiolytic I had on hand liked it. Half said it did nothing. This is pretty consistent through all psychiatric drugs; nothing works for everybody.
But I found information on what’s called the 80/20 rule. The FDA’s regulations on generic drugs allow for as much as 20% more active ingredient and as little as 80% of the brand name – a 40% spread.
People are suffering because of it.
It appears to be a problem across the spectrum of medication. All kinds of doctors and patients, physical and psychiatric problems, complain of variable effectiveness.
I was able to call my doctor and get a prescription for the brand-name anxiolytic. It’s going to cost me money (it’s not on the Formulary, of course), but I can afford it. I hope it works. What if you can’t afford it? What if you don’t have insurance?
What if one of the medications I take for problems that don’t have immediate perceivable changes – cholesterol, blood pressure, glaucoma – isn’t working?