Are All Brand Name Medications Created Equal?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I recently began taking Zoloft, which I purchased here in Qatar. It was manufactured in Italy by Pfizer Italia. I do not feel like I am receiving the same benefit as I did when I was taking the Zoloft (Sertraline) that I brought from the States. Is this possible, or is it just my imagination?

A. Each medication made by different companies may be slightly different. With generic medication for instance, the active ingredients of the drug, according to the FDA, are the same as the name brand drugs. Other elements of the generic product, such as color, flavoring, packaging, preservatives and other inactive ingredients, may be different. The same may be true of medications made by different manufacturers. That is, the active ingredients are the same but the packaging, flavor, etc. may be different.

With regard to generic vs. name brand medicine, some individuals report a slight difference between the two. You may be highly sensitive to the inactive ingredients and this causes you to believe that there is a difference. There may actually be a difference for you.

It’s probably not your “imagination.” You did not say what the difference was for you. If there is a big difference you may want to consider a new medication. If the differences are negligible then you may be okay with staying on the medicine. It may be helpful if you called a pharmacist and asked them specifically about the difference, if any, between the two medications. It may make you feel better. Thanks for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 May 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Are All Brand Name Medications Created Equal?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/25/are-all-brand-name-medications-created-equal/