Sunday, May 22, 2011

Generic OTC Medicines: They're Not All the Same

I never had allergies as a child.  When I got married and moved to West Virginia, I was suddenly bombarded with itchy eyes and a stuffy nose.  I thoroughly expected that once I moved back to Missouri, all that would go away.  Clearly it was West Virginia I was allergic to, right?  Wrong.

After trying various allergy pills and sprays, I've found that Wal-mart's Equate brand Loratadine (which is the active ingredient in Claratin) works great for me.  I take the 24 hour kind in the mornings.  Every once in a while I start to think my allergies have eased up, and I'll stop taking it for a few days, but the symptoms always flare up again.

A couple months ago I ran out of my allergy medicine, and I happened to be at K-mart, so I decided to just grab some there.  Any chance to avoid Wal-mart is a chance I like to take!  So I bought a bottle of K-mart's Smart Sense (their generic brand) Loratadine.  I figured, same active ingredient, it will be the same, right?  Wrong.

I took this for a few weeks, and when spring allergy season came around, I began waking up every single morning with puffy, itchy eyes.  I kept thinking it was this new facial cleanser I'd bought, or maybe the new eye cream?  Or maybe the fact that I was sleeping with the windows open?  But I changed each thing that I thought might be the culprit, and nothing was helping my eye situation.  They even started bothering me during the day.

Then I ran out of medicine again, and this time, I bought my old faithful Equate brand.  And guess what?  The next morning, no puffy eyes.  They haven't been back.

So, I've concluded that all generics are not the same.  I plan to stick with the one that has worked for me for years, and I will never again buy another brand. 

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