With the movement to curtail soaring healthcare costs, generic drugs have become increasingly popular. Many times we have no choice because many insurance plans will only pay for the generic. Other times we choose the generic because the price to us is better. In fact more than 80% of the drugs that we we take in the US are now generic, and this has saved Americans $193 billion dollars this past year.
But are generic drug the same as the original? The answer in many cases is no. For example the FDA requires that the generic have the same bioequivalence as the brand name. but the standard is very broad and the concentration of the active ingredient in the blood is allowed to fall as much as 20% below or 25% above that of the brand name. If you look at the math you will see that the biological activity of the generic is allowed to vary by 45% from the brand name. This is further complicated by the fact that pharmacies shop generics by price. The pills that you get one month may not have the same biological activity as the pills that you got another month.
This could possibly mean that if the pills you took one month only met the minimum requirement and the refill that you took another month met the maximum limit you would have increased the amount of medication that you get in our body by as much as 45%. Worse than that you would have no way of knowing from the labels that you were not getting the same amount of medication.
In many cases these differences are not important, but they are critical for medications used to treat conditions in which blood levels must be kept in a narrow range. These medications include, thyroid, anti-seizure, blood thinners, antidepressants, antipsychotics, asthma and immunosuppressants.
There is another important difference between the generic and the brand name. Although the generic must contain the same active ingredient as the original, the additional ingredients, known as excipients, can be different. These ingredients can effect the amount of the drug that is absorbed into the blood stream and can also be responsible for systemic side effects that do not occur with the brand name.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Sunday, March 9, 2014
"The reason that worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work."
The cornerstone of the TriEnergetics stress management program is a very simple, easy practice that you have already heard of, meditation. Everyone has the need for a time of inner peace. Meditate daily and you will see amazing results. The beneficial effects of simply relaxing are so great that you will soon look forward to the next time when you can sit quietly and tap your inner serenity. There is nothing to learn, nothing for you to memorize. Just take a few minutes out of your busy schedule, sit quietly, concentrate on your breathing and listen.
Choose a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Sit comfortably, keep your back straight with your head set squarely on your shoulders and begin to take slow deep breaths. Breath in through your nose and allow your abdomen to bulge as you breath. Focus on the fresh air entering your body as warm vital energy. Direct it to all parts of your body. Allow it to fill you and to relax you.
Exhale through your nose and think of the air leaving your lungs as taking your tension with it. Think energy in, tension out. Notice how your body relaxes as you let go. As tension leaves your body see if you can relax even more. Every breath is an opportunity to let go.
Don't worry about thoughts when you meditate. Don't try to force them from your mind. Thoughts will come because your mind will not stop thinking for more than a few seconds at a time. It is the nature of the mind to think. What you need to do is learn to let your thoughts go. When a thought comes, just watch it. Observe the thought, but don't engage with it. Be aware that you are thinking but don't develop any opinion or judgement about the thought. Just let it float to the surface of your consciousness. Then observe the next thought as it floats into your awareness. Then the next and the next. Just let them go.
When you are meditating don't worry about how you are doing. Remember your mind will wander. This is not a problem. Just practice bringing your attention back to your breath. Try to set aside ten minutes a day for meditating. It would be better if you are able to extend this to a longer period of time, but if you spend ten minutes you will notice progress.
There is no goal that you need to set for yourself and there is no deadline to get there. Meditation is not a timed race to the finish line. It is a process of awareness, of being with yourself and of coping with the stress of living. Enjoy the process.