Ask an Epileptic: “Do generic meds cause different side effects when they are from a different manufacturer?”
DEAR EPILEPTIC: I have epilepsy and wonder if anyone who receives medication by mail ever receives their meds from a different generic manufacturer. This time my generic Lamictal came in a different shape and size. I was told it was because it came from a different manufacturer. This makes me feel uncomfortable because the medication makes me feel a little differently. I get used to the side effects I guess or I am told it could be from other things like food or PMS or my imagination.
DEAR DONNA: It’s funny you should ask. Recently I went to my regular pharmacy and ordered my regular prescription refills. But, when the prescriptions were filled I was handed bottles of pills I did not recognize. I asked about the pills, you know, just to make sure they were the correct medication. I was told they filled the prescription with a different generic manufacturer. I was not happy, but I took the medication home and the next morning began taking it according to my regular dose (which is also what it said on the bottle).
That morning I began to experience some odd and uncomfortable physical symptoms. First, I thought maybe the dose was too low. Then, I thought maybe it’s too high. I finally gave up, and left work at lunchtime, and went home to figure out what was happening.
When I got home I decided to eat something before I took any more medication. After the first bite of some high fat yogurt, I began to feel better. I thought, “this is really weird.” So I continued to eat, and drink water, until the burning throughout my entire torso subsided.
I went back to work and dreaded taking the next dose. So, on my way home from work I stopped back at the pharmacy and let them know what was going on. I spoke directly to the pharmacy manager. I asked if it was possible to refill my prescription with the generic I normally use. Thankfully she was willing to do that for me.
It took another few days to get the proper medication in stock, which meant I had to continue taking the generic that was causing me to feel like I was burning from the inside out. Not fun. When the proper meds came in the pharmacy switched out the prescriptions.
I asked the pharmacy to make a note in my record that I MUST have a specific manufacturer for that medication. They were willing to make the note in my record. I have not had the same problem since.
I must say though, it did take almost a full month to completely recover from the three or four days I was on that medication. It took that long for the burning feeling to completely subside.
So to answer your question, I suppose what you are experiencing could be from PMS, or it could be your imagination, but it could also be because your pharmacy switched to a new generic manufacturer. Have a conversation with your pharmacist it could make you a lot more comfortable.
Founder and CEO
Jessica brings a unique perspective to this leading epilepsy blog as she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen. She also brings 20+ years experience in marketing.