Because the cost of prescription is increasing, doctors and pharmacists have switched to patients to the generic form of the prescribed drugs in effort to save patients money. Sometimes this method is safe and helpful; however there are studies that have shown this it’s not safe to make substitutions from brand name to generic drugs and from generic drugs to brand name when dealing with anti-epileptic drugs. When switching from brand name to generic drugs, it may cause seizures, serious injuries, or even death.
Usually, manufacturers of generic prescription drugs must show that they are pretty much the same or "bioequivalent" of the brand name drug. However, "bioequivalent" doesn’t always mean the drug is the same. The generic may contain the same level of active ingredient as the brand name drug, but the FDA allows for some variance in the inactive ingredients as long as the difference doesn’t effect the body significantly.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, switching from either brand name to generic or generic to brand name can be highly dangerous because studies are shown that even a slight variation in the amount or delivery of the active ingredient can lead to serious injury or even death in epileptic patients.
Doctors, who are unaware of the potential side effects of making the change, may switch the medication and the pharmacists change it to generic when it really may need to be brand name. This may cause many problems for the patients. In a three-year survey of patients who switched from brand name to generic medications, 59% of the people who responded, has experienced worse seizures and 49% experienced worse side effects.
Keppra is the brand name for an anti-epileptic drug that went off patent in January 2009. After January, the generic form of this drug, which is Levetiracetam, began being substituted. The Epilepsy Foundation as well as the American Academy of Neurology strongly disapprove of the use of the generic drug and are fighting to bring the issue to the attention of doctors, patients the FDA, health insurers, and Congress.
If you or a loved one have experienced an adverse reaction from taking a generic substitute for Keppra, call Brent Adams & Associates for a free, no obligation consultation with a lawyer.