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BECAUSE THE SAME MEDICINE MAY HAVE DIFFERENT BRAND NAMES
Many medicines with the same active ingredient are manufactured and sold under different brand names. They may look different or have different packaging or pricing but they work in the same way.
If you’re offered a choice of brand for a prescription medicine, the main things to
know are: different brands will always have the same active ingredient as the one on your prescription or the one you usually take they are bioequivalent — meaning that the medicine has been tested and accepted to have the same effect in the body
all prescription medicines sold in Australia must meet the same strict standards of
quality, safety and effectiveness for most people, switching brands is okay different pharmacies may stock different brand names of medicines.
Where can you get more information?
>Talk to your pharmacist or doctor — they are there to help you.
>Call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424).
>Download the consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet for medicines
from the NPS website www.nps.org.au
Be medicinewise Find out how at: www.nps.org.au/medicinewise
Do different brands work just as well?

Yes they do. If a medicine has the same active ingredient(s) as another brand and is
bioequivalent (that is, it’s been tested and accepted to have the same effect in the body), then it will work the same way, and have the same potential health benefits and potential side effects.
If your doctor wants you to stick with your usual brand, they can tick the ‘Brand substitution not permitted’ box on your prescription. They may do this for some individuals, certain medical conditions, or for the few medicines where different brands are not bioequivalent (e.g. warfarin).
It’s best not to keep switching brands, especially if you’re taking several medicines. This can cause confusion about which medicines to take. If you are offered another brand and you are unsure what to do, ask the pharmacist.
Why is the active ingredient in your medicine so important?
Most medicines have two names — the active ingredient name and a brand name. The active ingredient is the chemical in the medicine that makes it work. The brand name is the name given to the medicine by its manufacturer.
Check the active ingredient to avoid double dosing:-
You should check the active ingredient name every time you get a medicine to avoid double dosing with another medicine that contains the same active ingredient. The active ingredient name is shown on the medicine’s package or pharmacist’s label.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you’re unsure of how to find the active ingredient name.
Keep track of your medicines with a Medicines List:
The NPS Medicines List is a useful way to keep track of all your medicines. Remember to include prescription, over-the-counter, natural and herbal medicines. It’s important that you keep this list up to date and that you share it with all your health professionals and your carer.
Print your own Medicines List or download the Medicines List iPhone app from the
NPS website www.nps.org.au/medicineslist
Why do medicines look different if they work the same?
Due to trademark considerations, medicine packaging may look different. The medicine might also be a different shape, size or colour, or taste different. This is because different ‘inactive’ ingredients — such as lactose, gluten, sugar, preservatives and dyes — have been used in the manufacturing process. For most people these differences don’t matter. However, if you have particular allergies or intolerance (or need to avoid certain substances for cultural or medical reasons) you should check
the inactive ingredients in a brand of medicine. You can find a list of inactive ingredients in the consumer medicine information (CMI) leaflet for each prescription and pharmacist-only medicine. These leaflets are available from your pharmacist, doctor or from the NPS website www.nps.org.au/cmi

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