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PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

Wellbutrin alternative didn't help

November 30, 2009|Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon | The People's Pharmacy
(GlaxoSmithKline )

Q: Is there anything new on the generic version of Wellbutrin XL? My wife had done well on the brand name and then the Watson generic bupropion for several years. She was abruptly switched to Teva's Budeprion last spring. Her depression returned.

Within a month, she was on the brink of suicide. When I realized how severe her situation was, I ran out and purchased brand-name Wellbutrin. It took less than a week for her to return to her normal, cheerful self.

I work for a pharmaceutical company, and I would never have thought there could be such an issue with a generic. I reported her case to the Food and Drug Administration's MedWatch, but I wonder if there will be any further study.

A: The FDA and Teva have come up with a plan to compare blood levels achieved with the generic antidepressant with those using the brand-name drug. The study requires volunteers with depression to stay in a clinic for at least 24 days, but travel and a stipend are provided. Anyone interested may get more information from California Clinical Trials: (818) 254-1600.

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Q: My son takes a product to cleanse his colon every day. Is there a downside?

A: We don't know what is in the product your son is taking, but often over-the-counter colon cleansers contain senna or other harsh laxatives. If your son is constipated, there are better ways to address that. Overreliance on laxatives can lead to dependence and make matters worse.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. www.peoplespharmacy.com

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