In a nutshell
This study looked at the safety and effectiveness of switching from original brand imatinib (Gleevec) to generic imatinib in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The study found that switching from branded to generic imatinib is a safe option in these patients.
New medications on the market have a patent by their original maker. This means the drug cannot be made by any other company for a number of years. When a patent expires, other companies can make generic forms of the drug. The original drug is thoroughly tested and is the one that gets first approvals. Generic drugs are cheaper copies of the original drug. Patients may still choose the branded drug which can be more expensive. However, it is usually the same medication. It is important to research any safety and effectiveness differences between branded and generic imatinib.
Methods & findings
294 patients with CML were treated with branded imatinib for at least 6 months and then switched to the generic form. Patients on the branded form were treated for an average of 7.4 years.
17% of patients had new or worse side effects 7.5 months after switching drugs. Six (2%) patients switched back to branded imatinib and side effects improved. Four (1.36%) patients switched to another treatment drug. 92% of patients were responding very well at the time of the switch. 61% of these patients remained stable after the switch. 25% improved and 14% worsened after the switch.
The bottom line
Authors concluded that switching to generic imatinib was safe, effective and less expensive than branded imatinib.
The fine print
The study notes that side effects may not have been recorded fully.
Talk to your doctor about switching to generic, less expensive imatinib.
Published By :
Oct 02, 2018