Xanax or the Generic: Which is Better?

Most people are familiar with the drug Xanax, one of the most widely prescribed anti-anxiety medicines in the world.  But few people have even heard of the drug alprazolam, which is the active ingredient in Xanax.  This disparity shows us how effective the drug companies are in their marketing campaigns.  And due to their marketing, few patients realize that they can buy alprazolam under different names than just Xanax.

 

Introduction to Generic Drugs

When a pharmaceutical company develops a new drug, they are allowed to have to sole patent rights on that product for a set amount of time, usually about 10-20 years. During this time, only that company can make the drug.  Since the company rules the market for the product, it can set the price of the drug at whatever it wants.  Of course, good business practices and competition amongst other similar drugs will drive the price lower but the pharmaceutical companies still stand to make a huge profit.

 

Luckily for patients, the law eventually works in their favor.  After a drug’s patent runs out, other pharmaceutical companies are allowed to make their own version of the drug.  These versions are called generic drugs.  Contrary to popular belief, generic drug are not just any drug which contains the same active ingredient as the brand-name drug, such as a alprazolam in the case of Xanax.  Generic drugs are regulated on the same level as the brand name drug.  All generic drugs must prove that their version is the exact equivalent to the brand name drug. Further, the generic drugs must be made in  the exact same dosage amount and have the same administration method as the brand name version to avoid any potential confusion, like a patient taking the wrong dosage.

 

Generic Alprazolam is the Same as Xanax, but not all Alprazolam is Generic

The patent rights on Xanax ran out years ago and, since then, dozens of generic versions of Xanax have appeared on the market.  Here is where things get confusing: all generic Xanax (also called generic Alprazolam) is the exact same equivalent as Xanax.  But not all medicines with alprazolam are generic drugs.

 

In order for a drug to call itself “generic”, it MUST be tested and approved by the appropriate drug agency.  In the US, this agency is the FDA.  The FDA has agreements with the agencies in many other countries, such as Health Canada in Canada and the State Food and Drug Administration in China. If the alprazolam is meets the standards set by these agencies, then it is considered generic.  And all generic drugs are the exact same equivalent as the brand name version. You will not see any difference if you are taking Xanax or generic Xanax.

Just because a drug contains alprazolam, it doesn’t not always mean it was approved as a generic.  Some countries do not have agreements with the FDA and other drug agencies.  They may use a much lower standard of regulations for certifying drugs.  Even though the medicine with alprazolam may be called “generic Xanax”, it may be a lower quality.  This is why it is so important to discover the source country of the medicine you are using.  Here are some of the countries which offer certified generic Xanax:

  • EU countries
  • Australian and New Zealand
  • UK
  • US
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Hong Kong
  • Bangladesh
  • Israel
  • UAE
  • Venezuela