Adderall XR went generic in the US in April 2009. I wrote an initial blog post about it here: Generic Adderall XR. You can also review the nature of generic medicines in an article here: Are Generics The Same?.
While my initial thoughts were that the generic Adderall XR was very similar to the trade brand (made by Shire), the comments on my blog post made it clear that many people are finding that the generic version of Adderall XR just doesn’t work as well as it is supposed to.
As DS writes:
“After the first week, I really felt a difference, but tried to put it out of my mind. My shoulder and rib cage is sore, I don’t sleep and I am snapping at people all day, all night. This is not the same drug mixture/compound. It cannot possibly be. I feel tired from the lack of sleep, moody/agressive/weepy (not me!), sore (for no apparent reason) and just plain out of sorts.
Has anyone had any luck figuring out why some of us are feeling this hell-ish effect from the generic version?
- Sleepless (and crabby) in Seattle
The original generic Adderall XR was produced by the pharmaceutical company Teva.
Now, two more pharmaceutical companies will be joining the production of Adderall XR:
- Impax Pharmaceuticals will begin to ship its own version of Adderall XR at the end of 2009/early 2010. You can read more about this here.
- Sandoz Pharmaceuticals just settled a law suit with Shire (the original makers of Adderall XR) to allow them to make a generic version of Adderall XR as well. It is not clear when their production and distribution will begin. You can read about this here.
Why Are These Generics Coming?
When a pharmaceutical company creates a new medicine, they get a patent for a certain number of years. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars to get their drug to market, and then they have a number of years to profit from their medicine, before it goes ‘generic’ and other pharmaceutical companies start to manufacture the medicine (and they sell it for less).
Even when a medicine is within its patent, the generic pharmaceutical companies start law suits to challenge the patents – i.e. to see if they can start to market the drug earlier, and increase their profits. It seems that the companies that are now manufacturing and selling generic Adderall XR have pursued the legal process to challenge Shire’s patent, and they are now in the position to start to manufacture and profit from this medicine.
What does this mean to you?
Well, although I initially thought that the generic Adderall XR wouldn’t cause problems for people – there are 94 comments on my original blog post which essentially prove me wrong – i.e. many people are struggling with the generic form of the medicine.
Here is where it gets complicated.
If you used to be on the Shire Adderall XR, and then the Teva generic comes out – your pharmacy or insurance gives you the ‘cheaper’ version. Let’s say it doesn’t work as well for you, but because of the finances, or your insurance’s policy, you work with your doctor, adjust the dose and make it work.
Now, your pharmacy, or insurance company may make a deal with Impax – to get their new version of generic Adderall XR. Now, the formulation is slightly different again. Translation – you may have a different response or reaction to the new version of the generic than you did to the first one. You’ll need to go to your doctor, advocate at your insurance, and see if you can get on the medicine which works best for you.
Of course, if you can afford it – you can always ask your doctor for a prescription for Adderall XR – No Substitution (this means that your doctor is insisting that you get the original adderall xr only). The thing is that your insurance can refuse to pay for it, even if your doctor is that specific.
This can be complicated for you, or your child if you take Adderall XR. Best to monitor your symptoms, and work with your doctor to find the best solution for you.
Please share your thoughts and comments below. Your input is tremendously helpful to thousands of other people who come to this blog and learn from your experience.
All the best,