Brand Names and Generic Medications
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Medications can be confusing. The most common reason for this confusion arises from the different names attached to the same medicine.
When a drug has been researched and developed by a pharmaceutical company, it is released for sale under a name that the drug company attaches to the drug, the so-called “brand name.” This brand name usually bears little resemblance to the actual chemical name for the drug, but it is typically easier to remember.
Once the patent protection for the drug has expired, other pharmaceutical companies may manufacture and sell the drug. Usually, the drug is given its chemical name and is called “Generic.” However, the branded drug is still available for sale, so now there are two names for the same drug in the pharmacies.
When a glaucoma patient fills a prescription from their doctor, especially if they have been prescribed the medication previously, it is common to not recognize the drug’s name on the bottle because a generic has been substituted for the branded drug.
See our Medication Guide for a list of common glaucoma medications with their associated brand names and generic names.
Note: Some of these drugs still have patent protection and have not been released as a generic.
Article by Carl V. Migliazzo, MD. Dr. Migliazzo is in private practice in Overland Park, KS and specializes in the treatment of glaucoma and cataracts.
Last reviewed on August 31, 2011