Health Watch -- A Better Generic?

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Generic prescription drugs may be a cost-saving measure for patients and health plans, but with one drug, the generic is also better for patients. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center recently found that a generic anti-inflammatory drug causes fewer complications than comparable brand-name drugs.

The drug etodolac (eh- toe- DOE- lak) is in the same class of drugs as Celebrex and is prescribed as a pain killer and anti-inflammatory for patients with arthritis. Patients taking etodolac had a 60 percent lower rate of gastrointestinal complications like ulcers or bleeding, compared to patients who took a brand-name drug. Doctors haven't noted heart complications with this drug, either.

Using this generic drug could save the VA health-care system more than $40 million a year, and similar savings would be likely for other health-care systems.

Dec. 2004

Health Watch is heard Monday through Friday nationwide on the "Stardust" format of ABC Satellite Radio. Call your local radio station and ask if they carry the program.