Another triptan is going generic

Zomig (zolmitriptan) is the fourth triptan (out of seven) to become available in a generic form. This spells big relief for migraine sufferers who rely on this drug. Only tablets and orally disintegrating tablets (ZMT) will become available, not the nasal spray. Nasal spray offers faster relief and for some patients it is as fast as sumatriptan injection (Imitrex, Sumavel, Alsuma). It may take another 6 months for the price to drop significantly from the current $30 to $45 a pill because at this point only four companies are coming out with a generic version. There are about 10 manufacturers making generic Imitrex. Generic sumatriptan (Imitrex) is now available for $3 a pill, while the other two generics, Maxalt (rizatriptan) and Amerge (naratriptan) are still more expensive.

One caveat with the generics is that the quality sometimes is not as good as that of the brand. Of approximately 10 generic sumatriptan versions, my patients have found that 2 are very ineffective. One of these two manufacturers which is based in India (Ranbaxy), recently paid $500 million fine to the FDA for improper manufacturing, storing and testing of drugs. Many generic manufacturers are based in India and most of them produce good quality products. One of them is Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. Of the four generic manufacturers of Zomig two are based in India (Glenmark and Zydus), one in Taiwan (Impax) and one is based in the US (Mylan) but also has many manufacturing plants in India. An Israeli company Teva, the largest manufacturer of generics in the world is known for their high quality products and it also has plants in many countries, including India.

Once you find a product that works, stick with that generic manufacturer even if you have to switch pharmacy chains since the entire chain usually carries the same generic. The law requires that the name of the manufacturer is printed on the medicine bottle your receive from the pharmacy, so it is easy to find out who the manufacturer is.

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