Changes in Generic Pill Color and Shape Disrupt Use

July 15, 2014 2:33 PM

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Changes in Generic Pill Color and Shape Disrupt Use

Boston, MA—Generic versions of the same prescription drug are clinically interchangeable but often look different depending on the manufacturer. The FDA does not require consistent pill appearance among interchangeable generic drugs, and the shape and color of patients’ pills may vary based on the particular supply at the patient’s pharmacy. Studying a national cohort of patients who recently suffered a heart attack, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have found that variation in appearance of generic drugs is associated with a greater risk of patients stopping their essential post-heart attack drugs. These findings are published on July 14, 2014 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“After patients have a first heart attack, guidelines mandate treatment with an array of long-term medications and stopping these medications may ultimately increase morbidity and mortality,” explains Aaron S. Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pharmacoepidem...

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