Epilepsy MUSC

Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Generic Medications

What you need to know about generic medications and what they mean for treating your epilepsy.

  • Generic medications contain the same active ingredient in the same strength as the brand name medication.
  • Small changes in pill shape, pill color and inactive ingredients may exist
  • Generic medications often offer cost savings versus brand medications. However, for some people with epilepsy, generics might not work as well as the branded medications. Rarely, this may result in loss of seizure control.
  • You and your physician should make the decision if generics are right for you, but many insurance companies will not pay for brand medications, even if your doctor orders it.
  • Some companies require that you at least try generic medications first.
  • Your health care provider can appeal this decision, but cannot force your insurance company to cover brand only medication.
  • “Prior authorizations” and approvals for brand only medication take time, and it is ALWAYS better to take generic medication rather than nothing at all – Do NOT stop taking medication just because you cannot get brand name.
  • It may be beneficial to take a generic from the same manufacturer, and your pharmacist can help you make sure that you consistently take a generic from the same manufacturer. Ask the pharmacist to write down the “NDC number” of each prescription you pick up.
  • If your medication ever looks different, call your pharmacist.
  • If you have a loss of seizure control after switching to a generic, call your health care provider.

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