Copies of brand-name drugs are called generic drugs and they contain the same dosage, effects, side effects, risks, purpose for the intended use and the same strength as the brand-name drugs. Their pharmacological effects are meant to be exactly the same as the brand-name drugs.
Although some authors differ on the content of the inactive ingredients (like fillers and dyes) but the generic drugs are only cheaper than brand-name versions because manufacturers do not go through the processes of developing and marketing a new drug. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the generic drugs should contain the same active ingredients as the original drug. An example of a generic drug used to treat diabetes is metformin while the brand name for the same is Glucophage. The difference here is that while drugs for brand name starts with a capital letter, generic names are in the lower case. (Stoppler M. and Hetch B. 2008)
Over the counter medicines are to have the following labels (as required by the FDA that all OTC medicines should have a drug facts label):
I. Name of the drug-the generic or brand name of the medicine
II. Active ingredient- the therapeutic substances in the medicine.
III. Purpose- the category of the medicine.
IV. Dosage- on how the drug is to be administered.
V. Warnings - when to stop taking the product and when not to use it or when to see a doctor.
VI. Storage - on how best to store the medicines to avoid them going bad.
VII. Available sizes - the sizes in which the medicines are available.
VIII. Inactive gradients- the colors, flavoring or binders available in the drug.
IX. Uses- the symptoms or diseases the drug treats. (Bihari M. 2008).
Some of the common errors made by users of drugs include incomplete medication especially if the patient feels relieved before the drug is exhausted as per the medication. This is eliminated by ensuring that one completes his/her medication as per the doctor's instructions. Another common mistake is taking an overdose especially if a patient is not feeling any better thinking that by overdose s/he will feel better quickly. This should be discouraged by medics as it constitutes to drug abuse.