Harvard Heart Letter

Tracking down generic alternatives to brand-name drugs

Generic medications work as well as their brand-name counterparts at a fraction of the cost. Doctors aren't always aware of which drugs have generic versions, so you may need to do some sleuthing.

We can recommend two excellent Web sites for doing this:

DrugDigest.org lets you look up individual drugs or browse through drug categories. To find out whether a brand-name drug has a generic alternative, enter its name in the Search box on the left side of the page. Along with telling you its active ingredient and drug class, the information lists whether or not there's a generic version available. Just because a particular drug hasn't yet gone generic doesn't mean there isn't a generic alternative. At the top of the DrugDigest.org page, hover over the "Compare Drugs" tab and choose "Drug Comparisons" from the drop-down box.

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