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generic vs. original med

Apr 26, 2013

My health Ins just asked me to switch from Viread to generic of it and Lamivudine...I just read in 4/2013 issue of "Tagline" from T A G-Treatment Action Group in NY that says it might not be a good idea (Pg 11) What are your feelings? Thank you. Bill Webber

Response from Dr. Young

Hi Bill and thanks for posting.

The TAGline article that you've cited is a nice summary of the questions and issues related to the emergence of generic medications.

I'm a bit confused by your specific situation. Might you mean you've been asked to switch from Truvada (TDF +FTC) to Viread (TDF) + generic lamivudine?

There's quite a lot of controversy (mired no doubt by a lot of commercial issues too) about how important the differences between FTC (emtricitabine, part of Atripla, Complera and Stribild) and 3TC (lamivudine, Epivir and part of Epzicom) are. The former is on-patent and the later is now available as a generic medication in the US.

I feel pretty strongly that the differences are likely to be trivial when the medication is added to strong partners (as noted in the article). Further, changing a suppressive regimen to a newer (or even if true, less potent one) probably places fewer demands on potency than when starting with a detectable viral load. Taken together, if you've been doing well on Truvada (suppressed virus and no toxicity), switching to Viread and generic lamivudine should be ok.

Please let us know how the transition works for you. I'm sure that many of our readers would be interested.


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