I’ve always worried that generic drugs aren’t quite as good as the brand name version and now there’s mounting evidence to prove it.

Wellbutrin XL 300 (Budeprion XL) works just fine for depression and many ADHD symptoms. But when some patients are switched to the generic formulation, they reported frightening symptoms: fast onset of severe depression and serious suicidal thoughts.

In a recent article published by the People’s Pharmacy a woman reported no problems with the original Wellbutrin XL 300 but said that she had “the worst case of depression” she could remember when her pharmacy substituted the generic equivalent. It should be noted that the difference has not been reported in the 150 XL formulation at this point.

Apparently the generic version releases the medication at a different rate than the original, thus creating quite different response rates and effectiveness.

This news scares me – because a lot of ADDivas take Wellbutrin, including me – and there is the potential for serious repercussions. Suicide is not to be taken lightly, especially when antidepressants are supposed to ward off those thoughts and actions.

Equally important, however, is that many ADD women and men have already experienced differences in generic medications vs. brand name drugs that treat ADHD. I cannot take generic Adderall, for instance. Other people cannot take the brand name version. Ditto for any of the other drugs on the market today.

There are two ways to look at this issue, in my opinion.

1) We need to make SURE that we are receiving the exact drugs prescribed for us with NO substitutions by the pharmacy or insurance company (this may take some lobbying by you or your doctor).

2) If generics really do release their active ingredients at different rates than the original drug, it gives us even MORE options to play with to treat our ADHD symptoms.

After all, drug companies are making a fortune by adjusting the release time of ordinary drugs like old fashioned Ritalin, slapping their brand on the bottle and charging 10 times the price of generics. I know folks who can’t take the brand name drug but have good results with the generic. It works both ways. But the bottom line is the same: we all react differently to medication release schedules, to the type of drug prescribed, to the interval we take the drug, etc.

OK, now the disclaimer: this is NOT something to play with on your own. Obviously there can be serious consequences. Drugs are not a smorgasbord from which we can pick and choose. Work with your doctor to find the best combination for you.

But if you are switched to a generic and suddenly notice your symptoms change, call the pharmacy AND the doctor immediately. You deserve to take the meds that work best for you,
brand name OR generic.

Read the full report at Consumer Lab.