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People’s Pharmacy

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Mother suffers setback on generic antidepressant

By Joe & Terry Graedon
Joe and Terry Graedon
Joe and Terry Graedon are authors of The People's Pharmacy book and host an award-winning health talk show on public radio.

Q. I have a concern about generic Wellbutrin (bupropion) manufactured by a company in India called Wockhardt. My mother has been on Wellbutrin for more than a decade. She did well on the initial generic when her insurance company stopped paying for the brand name Wellbutrin.

A few weeks ago, I realized that she appeared anxious and depressed. She wanted to eat all the time, just as she did before she started on the antidepressant.

I checked her prescription and found that the most recent generic refill was from Wockhardt instead of Mylan. When I searched Wockhardt online, I found a record of trouble with the Food and Drug Administration.

These pills smell terrible. How can I tell if there is something wrong with them?

We talked with the quality-control chemist on the team that developed Wellbutrin. He told us that when this drug deteriorates, it has a distinct, unpleasant odor.

Many people reported a bad smell with generic Budeprion XL 300 tablets (bupropion). The FDA eventually found this formulation was not equivalent to the brand name Wellbutrin XL 300.

You are correct that the Indian drug company Wockhardt has recently run afoul of the FDA. An inspection in March uncovered many violations of good manufacturing practice at its facility in Waluj, India. That is where it makes bupropion. Because of quality concerns, an import ban has been imposed on products from that plant.

Prelief brings relief

Q. I spent years swallowing PPIs like omeprazole for reflux and Barrett’s esophagus. My gastroenterologist says the abnormal cells in my esophagus have now healed, so I decided to wean myself off the drugs.

It was surprisingly easy using OTC Prelief, which reduces the acid in food. The active ingredient is calcium glycerophosphate. Four months later, I’m doing great.

Prelief takes the acid out of foods like coffee, juice, tomatoes and barbecue sauce. We’re fascinated that it worked so well to ease withdrawal symptoms from drugs like omeprazole.

Reach Joe and Terry Graedon at PeoplesPharmacy.com. Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”

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