Are generic drugs as good as brand name drugs? In theory, yes. The FDA requires generic drugs to have the same quality, strength, purity and stability as brand name drugs. One area they may differ in, however, is inactive ingredients.
One implication of this variation in ingredients is that you may find you have an allergic reaction to a generic drug that you didn't have with the brand name drug because they use some dye or filler that wasn't in the brand name drug. Or the inactive ingredients could affect you in some other way. For example, a few years ago I was given a generic version of the acne cream Retin-A. When I applied it to my skin I got an unbearable burning sensation that I did not get with the brand name drug. As a result, I could not use the generic version that my insurance company paid for and had to pay out-of-pocket to get the brand name drug.
The most important question though is whether the active ingredient works the same. As I said previously, the FDA requires that generic drugs be virtually the same as the brand name in dosage, purity and how it behaves in your body. Unfortunately, I've heard from many people who have cast doubts on just how reliable generics are. Here is one example from a member of our forum who goes by the name Janny7:
I was wondering if anybody else has experienced this? My doctor gave me a month's worth of Zoloft. When I got the script filled for the next month I was given generic. I didn't even know there was a generic so I hadn't looked, but I started to feel not as good after 2 days. That's when I checked and saw he had given me the generic. I am getting it changed on Monday.
Others who replied in the thread reported similar experiences to Janny's.
The conclusion I've reached is that we should use caution when using generic drugs, especially with drugs that affect our mental well-being. While they theoretically should be the same, people's experiences do not always back this up. It's better to be safe than sorry I say