Some 500,000 heart patients struggle with generic medicines

no image
No image availableNL Times

Over half a million cardiovascular patients experience problems after switching to the use of cheaper, generic medicine, according to a study done by knowledge institute Nivel among patients and pharmacists. The most common complaints are fatigue and more side effects, BNR reports.

The study was done among 553 patients and 27 pharmacies in the Netherlands.

According to the study, 40 percent of cardiovascular patients in the Netherlands switched to generic brand medicines. About half of them experienced problems. One third of the switchers suffer from side effects, compared to 22 percent of patients who did not switch drugs.

The medicine is in principle the same, "but the excipients may be different, so people may react differently", Dr. Liset van Dijk of Nivel explained.

Over a quarter of switchers also experience practical problems with their new medicine, such as awkward packaging or not knowing how to use it. A massive 71 percent of switchers indicated that they received no information on their new medicine from their health care provider or health insurer.

Van Dijk calls on pharmacists to give better information. "What we recommend is to check whether people who are changing medications develop symptoms after the change. When they come back for a new prescription, ask how they are doing, and with those who aren't wall, check what is going on."