Viagra is one of the most popular drugs on the market today, earning manufacturer Pfizer over one billion dollars a year. Its popularity has led to thousands of bad jokes, hundreds of cheesy commercials, and put the phrase “erectile dysfunction” on the radar. But how much do you actually know about the infamous erectile dysfunction pill?
Here are 10 things you should know to get better acquainted with Viagra, and its generic sildenafil.
There will be two manufacturers for generic sildenafil… if not more.
In 2013, generic manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals reached a settlement that allowed them to manufacture generic sildenafil starting on December 11th, 2017. As of last week, Teva was set up to be the sole manufacturer for generic Viagra until 2020, when the brand name patent expires.
However, on December 6th, Viagra manufacturer Pfizer announced that they would also be releasing generic sildenafil, at a significantly reduced price. Ultimately this move will enable Pfizer to share in the profits of generic sildenafil. Smart move on their part.
Viagra’s patent officially expires in 2020, and we expect to see more manufacturers come to the table then, driving prices down. Stay tuned.
It will come in multiple dosages
Just like brand name Viagra, generic sildenafil will be sold in tablets of 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg.
It will be 50% less than brand name Viagra
Yes, you read that right. Pfizer, the current manufacturer of brand-name Viagra announced they they will be releasing generic sildenafil at 50% off the current brand price. The average retail price of one tablet of Viagra is around $73, so we expect to see the price of generic sildenafil averaging at $30-$40 per tablet.
That is still on the pricey side for one tablet, but there is one more way to save. Generic manufacturer Teva offers a savings program for eligible patients to pay as little as $0 on their prescription. For more information on this program, see their website here.
Sildenafil won’t be different from brand name Viagra.
We consistently see patients voice concern about the efficacy of generic drugs. But keep in mind the rigorous process that drugs must go through before they hit the market. These processes ensure that generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their brand name counterparts, so there’s very few differences between brands and their generic counterparts. You can read more from the FDA about this here.
The biggest difference we can see right now? The color. The ‘little blue pill’ will now be the ‘little white pill’
A generic sildenafil already exists
Don’t let this confuse you. Sildenafil is the generic for two common drugs on the market right now, Revatio and Viagra, but these drugs are approved by the FDA for two different uses. Revatio is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, while Viagra treats erectile dysfunction in men.
How can you distinguish between the two? Revatio-equivalent sildenafil is only sold as a 20 mg tablet, while Viagra’s generic sildenafil is sold in 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg tablets. For more on this, see our previous blog here.
It is the most counterfeited drug in the world
The problem of counterfeit Viagra is so widespread that Pfizer has even created their own security force to help cut down on the amount of unregulated drugs on the market. This team, called Pfizer Global Security, works with law enforcement, pharmacies and wholesalers to monitor distribution, and improve surveillance on counterfeit Viagra.
Why is this so important? One study done by the Pfizer Global Security team found that nearly 80% of online sites that claimed to sell Viagra were actually selling a counterfeit. The team has even found dangerous additives like blue printer ink, amphetamines (or speed), rat poison, road paint, and floor wax hidden in counterfeit Viagra—things you definitely don’t want to put in your body.
For more information on spotting fake Viagra, see Pfizer’s video on how to buy safely here.
It does have side effects
While you might have only heard of the good effects of Viagra, be aware that it does have some negative side effects. According to our friends at Iodine, people typically report side effects like headache, flushing, low blood pressure, abnormal vision, indigestion, and an erection lasting longer than five hours. Be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of these side-effects for a prolonged period of time.
It is available without a prescription in the UK
The UK just became the first company where patients can buy Viagra over the counter, without a prescription. It is sold under the name Viagra Connect, and is available as a 50 mg tablet for around $25 US dollars for four tablets.
This decision by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is aimed at reducing the amount of black market, unregulated Viagra tablets sold.
It treats more than erectile dysfunction
In fact, it was first intended to treat chest pain and angina. However, patients prescribed sildenafil for chest pain reported an interesting side effect, an increased amount of erections, and it was soon after approved to treat erectile dysfunction.
Since then, sildenafil’s indications have expanded to include high blood pressure and pulmonary arterial hypertension in addition to erectile dysfunction
Life-threatening allergic reactions are scary no matter what age you are. In the past, there were no epinephrine auto-injectors available for infants and small children. However, the FDA has just approved a new lower dose of Auvi-Q, specifically designed for use in children weighing 16.5 to 33 pounds.
What strengths will Auvi-Q be available in?
Auvi-Q will now be available in strengths of 0.3 mg, 0.15 mg, and 0.1 mg. The 0.3 mg dose is indicated for patients who weigh greater than or equal to 66 pounds, and the 0.15 mg dose is indicated for patients who weigh 33 to 66 pounds. The new 0.1 mg dose is indicated for patients who weigh 16.5 to 33 pounds.
Additionally, Kaleo, the manufacturer, developed the 0.1 mg autoinjector with a shorter needle length to ensure that the injector won’t strike bone in a small child.
When will the Auvi-Q 0.1 mg auto-injector be available?
According to the press release from kaléo, the Auvi-Q 0.1 mg auto-injector is projected to be available for patients in the first half of 2018.
How can I save on Auvi-Q?
The manufacturer, Kaleo pharmacy, created the Auvi-Q Affordability program, first-of-its-kind access program for the product. The program boasts a $0 out of pocket for all commercially insured patients, including those with high-deductible plans. There is also the Kaléo Cares Patient Assistance Program to help patients who are experiencing financial difficulties receive Auvi-Q at no cost.
This is a class II recall, the most common type of recall, which means that there is a situation where the use of the recalled medication may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences, but the likelihood of serious adverse effects is small. For more information on the different types of recalls, see our overview here.
Who can recall a drug?
A manufacturer can voluntarily recall their medication, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can request or require that a manufacturer recalls a particular medication. In this case, the manufacturer has voluntarily recalled diphenoxylate/atropine.
Why were these products recalled?
Greenstone LLC has issued a recall due to possible sub-potent and super-potent tablets. In other words, some tablets may contain too much medication (super potent) or not enough medication (sub-potent).
Taking a diphenoxylate/atropine tablet that contains too much medication can cause life-threatening toxicity, coma, problems breathing, lethargy, skin flushing, and drowsiness. On the other hand, taking a diphenoxylate/atropine tablet that doesn’t contain enough medication can worsen diarrhea.
Have there been any adverse events reported to the FDA from patients?
No. At this time, the FDA has not received any reports of adverse events associated with this recall.
Which products were recalled?
According to the FDA’s announcement, the affected products were distributed nationwide to wholesalers and retailers in the United States from November 2016 to June 2017.
This recall will affect the following:
- Drug: Diphenoxylate/atropine 2.5 mg/0.025 mg tablets
- Manufacturer: Greenstone, LLC
- Bottle Size: 100-count (NDC 59762-1061-01), 1000 count (NDC 59762-1061-02)
- 100-count bottles: R83962, R93347, R93348, R93349, R93350, R93351, R93352, S57831, S57832, S57834
- 1000-count bottles: R93356, R93357, R93358, R97310
The opioid epidemic in the United States has become a serious public health problem, causing many pharmaceutical companies to focus their efforts on creating new and innovative treatment options.
The newest device aimed at increasing treatment options for opioid addiction was just approved by the FDA. The NSS-2 Bridge device is an electric stimulation device that can provide relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms.
How does the NSS-2 Bridge device work?
The Nss-2 Bridge works by emitting electrical pulses to the brain, which may provide relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms. The device works best if placed behind the ear, and can be worn up to 5 days during the initial physical withdrawal phase.
The device will help ease symptoms of withdrawal like sweating, upset stomach, agitation, problems sleeping, and joint pain within 30-60 minutes.
Is there anyone who should not use this device?
Yes. The device should not be used in patients who have hemophilia, psoriasis, or a cardiac pacemaker.
Is the device waterproof?
No. The device is considered water-resistant and can be worn while a patient washes their hair; however, it has been recommended that holding a dry washcloth or a small plastic cup over the ear while showering will be enough to protect the device.
For more information, visit the Innovative Health Solutions website.
Xarelto is a commonly prescribed drug that helps prevent blood clots, stroke, and atrial fibrillation (a so-called anticoagulant).
The bad news? It’s really expensive, and Xarelto isn’t expected to be available as a generic for some time. If your doctor thinks Xarelto right for you, how can you make it affordable?
Here’s some information about Xarelto and how you can save.
How popular is Xarelto?
Xarelto is the third most popular anticoagulant, a class of medications that also includes Coumadin (jantoven, warfarin), Praxada, and Eliquis. Commonly referred to as blood thinners, these drugs help to prevent blood clots that can cause deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, angina, stroke, and heart attack.
When will generic Xarelto be available?
As of December 2017, there is no generic available for Xarelto. However, it may become available as rivaroxaban in 2021, when the brand name patient expires. While you might have to wait three more years to save with the generic, there are other ways to cut costs on Xarelto.
Are there any cheaper anticoagulants I can try?
While Xarelto doesn’t have a generic, there are a couple of alternatives. Be sure you speak with your doctor to see if these alternatives will work for you.
- Coumadin (warfarin, jantoven). Coumadin is a popular anticoagulant that has two affordable generic alternatives, warfarin and jantoven, that can cost as little as $4 for a one month supply. Very affordable, but what is the downside? Well, Coumadin can raise your risk of bleeding and bruising, so it requires regular blood tests to ensure its effectiveness.
- Other anticoagulants. Pradaxa or Eliquis are both still only available in brand form – so they don’t have cheaper generic versions. Still, these alternatives may be more affordable, especially if they are covered by your prescription insurance.
- For more information on how Xarelto compares to other anticoagulants, check out Iodine’s page on Xarelto alternatives. As always you’ll want to speak with your doctor if you think other medications might work better for you.
Xarelto still works best for me—how can I save?
- Fill a 90-day supply. This can help shave a little more off of your out-of-pocket costs. Be aware that you will need a new prescription from your doctor, and approval from your insurance to fill for a higher quantity. Check in with your doctor, insurance, and/or pharmacist.
- Use a Xarelto coupon from GoodRx. GoodRx offers discounts for Xarelto online, which can usually save at least 15% off the full retail price.
- Save with Xarelto’s manufacturer coupon or patient assistance program. Two manufacturers, Janssen and Johnson & Johnson offer two ways to save. The Xarelto manufacturer coupon can reduce your costs to as little as $0 per month, while the patient assistance program can help you receive your medication at no cost if you qualify. For more information on these programs eligibility, and how to apply, be sure to read through our Xarelto Savings Tips page, or visit Xarelto’s website.
- Split a higher dosage pill. This can help reduce costs, especially if two strengths are priced similarly. You’ll want to check in with your doctor to see if this is a safe option for you.
- Try to appeal your coverage. If you have insurance, and your plan doesn’t cover Xarelto, ask your doctor about submitting an appeal. Some plans require prior authorizations—meaning you need permission from your insurance plan and a special request from your doctor before you can fill your prescription. If you have insurance, call your provider and ask how to get this process started.