Generic Drugs Are Much Cheaper, but Use Caution for Those That Have 'Narrow Therapeutic Windows'

"So this month you got the one that was manufacturer X, the next month it's manufacturer Y, the month after that you got manufacture Z," said Dr. Rana Said, a pediatric neurologist. "So it's the switching that really causes all the problems."

Another wrinkle: About half of generics are made by the company that also makes the name brand of the drug. They're called "authorized generics," and they're exactlyt the same, except maybe they're a different color.

These days, Sassee Ann Arnold asks her doctor to write "do not substitute" on her prescriptions. If you want to get a specific brand -- or generi c-- medication, you should do the same.

Drugs With Narrow Therapeutic Index

While there is no official list, the following drugs are generally accepted to have a narrow therapeutic index.

Thyroid medications: Brand-name: Levothroid, Levoxyl or Synthroid Generic: Levothyroxine

Blood thinners: Brand-name: Coumadin Generic: Warfarin

Heart medications: Brand-name: Digitek, Lanoxin Generic: Digoxin

Psychiatric drugs: Brand-name: Eskalith, lithobid Generic: Lithium

Antiseizure Medications: Brand-name: Dylautin Generic: Phenytoin

Brand-name: Tegretol Generic: Carbamazepine

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