I agree with you hazelmary.
It's all very well for those who haven't had problems (even those who may be experts on drugs) to be sceptical - but, to the minority of us who see a profound difference in the way various formulations affect us, this issue is very important to our quality of life.
I went to see my Onc on Wed and the subject of generic drugs came up( I am on Letrozole).
He said that a number of his patients are having problems with generic versions and had had a letter from a GP asking him why they had to prescribe Femara and not the cheaper version. He said that if it was purely down to cost he would agree as the NHS needs to save money but where the patients are experiencing severe side effects on these drugs that they did not experience on Femara and it is affecting the quality of their lives they should be offered the expensive drug. Sensible approach I think.
As someone who was on Arimidex for over 2 years and has now been on the generic version produced by Tiva for a year, in my case there has been no difference whatsoever in my side -effects (hot flushes and night sweats)
There must be many hundreds (thousands?) of women who were changed from expensive Arimidex once it came out of licence, to the very much cheaper versions of Anastrole produced by a number of pharmaceutical firms and who are, like me, ok about it. I am pleased that NHS money is being saved on my drug & the fact that there may be widespread wastage in the NHS doesn't make me want to add to it
It is natural that we hear most from the small minority who are unhappy with the change. I do sympathise with people who really have had problems with the Arimidex alternatives but feel that what Alice writes is really a very balanced picture from an 'expert witness'.
rossco - you could be right about getting used to a particular formulation and then having problems when it is changed.
The difficulty now is that several manufacturers have now brought out their own brand generic, so now I have hawk to my Rx around the local pharmacies till I find one stocking the same brand I had before.
I've been on arimdex for 3ys, as i have just moved house and got new G.P. he has just changed me on to anastrole without telling me, so hope i dont get bad side effects.
but if I do i'll be straight back at the dr
my prescription was changed to anastrole, i had terrible side effects went to have a chat with my g.p. put back on arimedix straight away
I too was on arimidex for 2 and a half years then my
prescription changed to anastrozole - all sorts of problems
then put back on arimidex problems went. My friend has
justed started taking anastrozole and is having no problems - I think
your body gets used to a drug and when it is changed after a long
period of time this when the problem occurs. If you take
anastrozole from the start there does not seem to be any problems.
I was on Arimidex for 6 months... usual side effects, hot sweats, insomnia etc. In the summer i was changed to Anastrole, after months of headaches, a clear MRI and 2 consultations we found it must of been the change of tablets in the summer... not so cheap now are they. I requested to go back on to Tamoxifen, at least i could sleep on them.... and guess what, the headaches went too
I'm a pharmacist so I can see both sides of the argument when people think they are being fobbed off with some cheap imitation...
Please let me reassure you that in the UK drug manufacturers & imports are tightly regulated so that the product you get will be the same quality in terms of the active drug as the original brand - much less cost yes, but the original manufacturer was making those tablets for a few pence and selling then for pounds - thats how they make the money that goes into resarch - nothing to do with quality of product.
A few people will report problems - some of those problems are due to chance - your bodies are going through a lot and it is easy to blame another problem on the change of med rather than consider it might be a coincidence. Some problems can be caused by other things in the tablet - 1mg of anatrazole is a few grains of power - your tablets are 99% other stuff that you might be intolerant of so a change of make sometimes really does help.
As a tax payer I want my money spent wisely in the NHS - I buy the cheapest paracetamol I can for my own personal use so I expect the NHS to do the same so they have the money to spend when there is no alternative!
Hope this isn't too sermon-like!!!
50Something - a pharmacist can give anyone Arimidex but will only be reimbursed the cost of generic anastrozole (unless the Rx actually requests the branded drug).
I have just been for my next prescription of Anastrozole. I have never been prescribed Arimidex, even by my Onc. I have had various makes of Anastrozole and found that the Teva make was the worst for side effects - I have been crying with the pain in my arms and legs. My hands have also started to be affected. So, when I went with my prescription to the Pharmasist, I just asked if they could avoid giving me the Teva version, as it was the worst for side effects. 30 seconds later I had in my hot little hand - Arimidex! I have read on here that the PCTs are very reluctant to give out Arimidex as it is so expensive. I can't believe that they would give me this even though nowhere on my prescriptions or in my notes does it mention Arimidex. I have a week left of my old Anastrozole and then will try these and see if they are as good as most ladies on here say they are. If they are, I will be asking for them by name next time - keep you posted.
Arimidex and generic Anastrozole are the same. Hopefully they are working the same for me, as I don't have joint symptoms or anything else to really go by. I have been on the generic about a year and don't have much as far as options due to my pharmaceutical insurance plan.
Nicky21 - I am virtually the same as you. Had been on the original arimidex for 2.5 yrs and had usual side effects like the hot sweats and achy joints.
In March my 2 mths prescription at the GPs said anastrazole and I was given a generic brand. I knew about the changes but was happy to give it a go as it was supposed to be the same. Within a week, I was getting the most awful dreams, insomnia, hot sweats and agitation but persisted to see if these would settle down. My next prescription was for the generic version again so I asked the pharmacist and he said the GP would have to specify Arimidex by name. GP surgery would only do this if instructed to do so in writing by the onc. It's all down to cost something like £2 a month compared to £80 a month. I persisted with the generic ones, all the time becoming more agitated and sleeping very badly and getting more and more tired, as I was seeing onc in June.
As it was affecting me so much, onc wrote to the GP but they only acted on letter for my prescription last week BUT I started the 'real' ones on Friday and already feel less agitated and sleeping better in spite of a stinking cold. Needless to say, until scans show otherwise (I have bone mets)I will stay on the Arimidex. I will mention the improvement when I go for a drip at hospital next week and again when I have my checkup in Sept. It can't be coincidence and doctors need to be aware of it rather than just poo-poo the idea.
I have been taking arimidex for over three years with some minor and manageable side effects. Three months ago I was given anastrasole, I had no problem with this and I am quite happy to save money wherever possible. However within two weeks I was experiencing some severe side effects, these included severe insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks, constant hot flushes..... up to eight an hour, but most serious of all,a very unstable blood pressure which at times reached frightening heights.
My Doctor, having witnessed some of my symptoms, immediately prescribed Arimidex (AstraZeneca). Thankfully things are now settling down two weeks later.
I have never posted anything before but I feel very strongly that if others are experiencing severe side effects these should be considered by the appropriate authorities.
Broomsticklady - I am employed by an NHS Trust and see money being wasted every day - a prime example being thousands of pounds spent on designing new stationery when there was nothing wrong with the old one! So I for one do not feel guilty about asking for Arimidex as the increase in side effects I experienced on Anastrozole was unbearable. I have been back on Arimidex for three weeks now and the difference in how I feel is remarkable, which proves to me that it's not "all in the mind". Jo
I'm probably going to be shot down in flames here but here goes anyway.
I've read this thread and the other earlier longer one, and can't hold my tongue any longer. While I sympathise with those who have more side effects from the generic form than the original, I have to wonder if those same ladies, when they are paying for pharmaceuticals themselves pay £1 plus for 16 Panadol rather than 16p for 16 paracetamol, or Nurofen rather than ibuprofen, etc etc. I think there is also a certain "it's cheaper so can't work as well attitude" - my mother in law kicked up merry hell when her ventolin inhaler for asthma was changed to salbutamol - when we told her it was ventolin again all her side effects went away - go figure!
Generic medicines make sense. I take over 7 prescription medicines a day, only 1 of which is not generic. I don't pay for them ,and am very glad I don't as I probably couldn't afford it. I have no problems in these days of economic chaos for a health trust to economise in ways they can, and use the saved money to help finance treatment which they may not otherwise consider, whether this be for cancer or anything else.
To hear someone petulantly say "I like what I know", without considering the "why", isn't helping society as a whole.
And before anyone asks, I've been a higher rate tax payer all my working life, I'm unlikely to draw my state pension due to this awful disease which unites us all, so yes, I have contributed to the economy as well as all of those who complain about generics.
I've been on Arimidex for 4 years and just noticed my new prescription is for Anastrozole. Apparently it is exactly the same as Arimidex but I like what I know and particularly the pop out pills with the day noted. Am sure it is all about money and cutbacks but haven't we suffered enough through no fault of our own??
I was switched from Arimidex to Anastrozole recently. Apparently it's a very much cheaper alternative. I suppose we just have to put up with these things...
I am on arimedex from astra zeneca and have just renewed my prescription this week (2 months) with no problems at all.
Hi Tally. Have bumped up another thread "Arimidex - Now Anastrazole by Teva", which you may find interesting. Regards Jo.
Hi Tally I too was switched to generic anastrozole from Astra Zeneca brand Arimidex 3 weeks ago. I was told that the PCT will not fork out for the dearer drug. Apparently Arimidex came off licence last autumn which means that other pharmaceutical companies can make and sell generic anastrozole( which is the active ingredient in Arimidex. I have phoned PALs and the pharmaceutical advisor at the PCT and am told I cannot have Arimidex. Good luck. Jackie
My last 2 prescriptions received from the chemist have had an alternative tablet, the last one being anastrozole, can't remember the name of the one before, I get a 2 months supply, so nearly 4 months since my last arimidex issue although this is what it says on my prescription.
Put my latest script in friday and my husband checked with the chemist that I would get arimidex but apparently not, because of the PCT, but he is going to check if he can issue me arimidex...what's going on, I'm assuming cost.?