What you may not know about generic prescription drugs.

(BPT) - Many prescription medications on the market today are expensive, and may not be fully covered by health insurance plans. Because of the costs involved, people who take prescription medications often ask their doctor or pharmacist about less expensive options that might be available to them. In many cases, generic versions of prescription medications can provide savings.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about generic drugs:

Are all generics the same?

No. Most people don't realize that there are two types of generic drugs; authorized generics and regular generic medications. Both regular generics and authorized generics are FDA approved, safe and effective. However there are some differences that consumers should keep in mind.

Authorized generics are identical to their name-brand counterparts. They are made by the same manufacturer, most often in the same facility and on the same equipment as the brand-name drug. In addition, they have the exact same active and inactive ingredients, which means they will have the same size, shape, smell, taste and feel as the brand name drug.

Regular generics, on the other hand, are copies of brand drugs made by a different company than the manufacturer of the brand-name drug. They can be different in size, shape, smell, taste and feel - both compared to the brand and compared to other generic drugs. Like authorized generics, regular generics have the same active ingredients, dosage form and strength as the brand-name drug. However, regular generics often have different inactive ingredients, which make up 70% of an oral tablet, on average. Inactive ingredients do not have a pharmacological effect and are added to generic medications as fillers or binders.

What are some things to consider when taking generic drugs?

In many cases, multiple manufacturers make a generic version of a particular brand-name drug, each using their own formulation of inactive ingredients. In fact, the 18 most prescribed oral medications have an average of 82 different available formulas. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical distributors can shift purchases of a given generic from one manufacturer to another on a regular basis. As a result, patients may receive a round, pink tablet one month and an oblong, green tablet the next month for the same prescription from the same pharmacy.

What are the key benefits of authorized generics?

With authorized generics, consumers switching from brand-name drugs to generics can feel confident that the medication they are taking will be the exact same drug product as the brand name drug they're used to. As long as they are getting the authorized generic, they can be assured each and every refill will be the same product every time. This consistency in medication may be a factor in switchback rates. A switchback occurs when a patient switches back to the brand-name product from a generic medication. A recently published study showed lower switchback rates in patients who switched from brand-name to authorized generic medications than patients who switched from brand-name to regular medications.

Where can people find authorized generic drugs?

If you are interested in exploring authorized generics as an option, more information is available at AuthorizedGenerics.com, including a Product Finder tool to find out whether an authorized generic version of your medication is available.

Bottom line, knowing your treatment options is an important part of managing your health. This is why understanding your options in generic drugs and talking with your physician or pharmacist can help you make informed decisions and take control of your health.

1 U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA List of Authorized Generic Drugs. Accessed at https://www.fda.gov/drugs/abbreviated-new-drug-application-anda/fda-list-authorized-generic-drugs.

2 Daniel Reker et al. "Inactive" ingredients in Oral Medications. Science Translational Magazine, March 2019. https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/11/483/eaau6753.

3 Rishi J Desai et al. Differences in rates of switchbacks after switching from branded to authorized generic and branded to generic drug products: cohort study. BMJ, April 2018.

Tips for childproofing an older home

(BPT) - While many homeowners love the unique charm and beauty that can only be found in an older home, the truth is that older houses present challenges to keeping everyone safe, especially little ones. For any house where children are being raised, or where they may spend a lot of time, it's a good idea to take stock of some potential hazards - before they cause a danger to any infant or child.

Test for lead

Many houses built decades ago may contain lead not only in the paint, but also in the water pipes. You can have both your water and paint tested for lead. If lead is present, speak with a licensed contractor about ways to remove lead safely to protect everyone in your home.

Examine windows - including window coverings

Older windows can pose a number of risks to young children. Never place furniture such as a crib or anything that a child could climb on underneath a window. Installing strong window guards over any windows that could pose a threat to your child, not just in their bedroom, can give you peace of mind.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in the home. Older, corded window coverings such as blinds may have looped pull cords or accessible inner cords that pose a serious strangulation risk to small children.

The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) urges parents and caregivers to check corded window coverings for potential cord hazards and to replace them with today's safer products. Government safety officials and the WCSC recommend that only cordless window treatments be used in homes where infants and young children live or regularly spend time. Tasseled pull cords also need to be as short as possible, to be well out of reach of children.

A new U.S. Safety Standard requires that all stock products be cordless or have inaccessible cords. So if you need to replace older window coverings with new ones, look for the "Best for Kids" certified label. Products with the Best for Kids label have gone through third-party testing and are designed for use in homes with young kids.

Consider heat sources

For any older home, heat sources such as radiators can pose a risk of burns. Space heaters used in chilly houses can also be dangerous around young children. Safely cover, insulate - or simply don't use - any heat sources that could harm a young child.

Uneven floors and walls

Some old houses have irregular walls, uneven floors and less than straight or well-designed staircases. This can create the following difficulties for childproofing your home.

* Installing baby gates. If a baby gate relies on pressure to secure it, uneven floors, walls or banisters can make it far from secure. Instead, get the kind of baby gate that needs to be installed using secure hardware - and hire an expert if you're not confident of your skills to get the job done safely.

* Stabilizing large furniture. Uneven floors make it hard to keep furniture like dressers or bookcases safe from curious crawlers. Recent reports of dressers and shelves falling on toddlers are alarming for any parent, so it's best to bolt or anchor furniture securely to prevent accidents. When the floor is uneven, you may need to use shims beneath the furniture to help you get it as close to the wall as possible. Earthquake proof furniture straps are an option if it's tough to align the furniture tightly enough to anchor to the wall or floor using anchor brackets.

Any house, old or new, can contain potential hazards for kids of all ages. While it may seem overwhelming to anticipate every possible danger spot, there are plenty of resources available to help you be prepared. Visit WindowCoverings.org for useful information on product safety, parenting tips, childproofing and more.

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5 essential steps for managing blood sugar.

(BPT) - In the U.S. alone, 28.1 million people are living with diabetes, and an added 7.2 million are living with undiagnosed diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, the American Diabetes Association reports that 84 million American adults have prediabetes, but nearly 90 percent of them don't even know it.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as frequent urination (often more than ten times a day), persistent thirst or chronic fatigue, it's possible that you are living with diabetes - and it's crucial to get tested so you can get the treatment your body needs. That's particularly important now, because, according to the CDC, diabetes sufferers are among those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Although the current pandemic and social distancing measures make things more challenging, the following tips can help you manage your blood sugar and prioritize your health if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a family history of diabetes or are experiencing diabetes symptoms:

1. Get tested

The only way to be sure about your blood sugar health is to get tested. It's easier than ever to determine your risk for diabetes, even when spending more time at home. LetsGetChecked offers an at-home HbA1c test that measures your blood sugar over the previous three months to help identify prediabetes or check how well you are controlling the disease following diagnosis. After you receive your results, a team of physicians and nurses are available to help you navigate them and answer your questions. You can find the LetsGetChecked diabetes test online.

2. Keep track of your symptoms

Identifying your symptoms will help you tackle your health issues head on. Keep an eye out for symptoms of high blood sugar, including feeling thirsty all the time, feeling tired all the time or weak, frequent headaches, concentration issues and a fasting blood sugar level of 100mg/dl or more. If you experience these symptoms, it's important to get tested for diabetes right away.

3. Choose foods with a Low Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a ranking of how quickly certain foods make your blood glucose levels rise after eating them. Carbohydrates with a low GI, such as porridge, brown pasta, noodles and multiseed/granary breads, are the best type of carbohydrates to eat for pre-diabetes or diabetes. 'Pulses' such as chickpeas, garden peas, butter beans, kidney beans, black beans and lentils are high in fiber and protein, which will also help slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose in the blood. This means that they don't give that sharp rise in your blood sugar levels.

4. Stay active

Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and will help keep your blood sugar levels within normal limits. As a rule of thumb, aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise into your day 5 times per week. Many free classes are available online, for all fitness levels, to help you start or continue your exercise routine.

5. Prioritize sleep

Sleep affects blood sugar, and your current blood sugar affects your sleep. Studies show that those who sleep for six hours or less will have significantly higher blood sugar, and a lack of sleep leads to slower fat metabolism and slower glucose processing - so aim to get at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.

While staying active, eating the right foods and keeping track of your symptoms can all help manage your blood sugar, the most important way to make sure you are managing your health is to get tested.

25 years of migraine: How one sufferer won the battle.

(BPT) -

Migraine has been an unwelcome part of Jennifer (Jennie) Latson's life for more than 25 years. On average, she has 10-12 migraine attacks per month. They can cause her horrible pain, severe nausea and vomiting, and often keep her bedridden for several days at a time. Her attacks started when she was 12 years old.

Despite her challenges with migraine, Jennie was an overachieving teenager who was optimistic of a future filled with unlimited opportunities.

"As a teen, I believed there was nothing I couldn't accomplish in my life," says Jennie. "I didn't know what was causing my pain. My parents thought I was unusually susceptible to the flu. They hoped it was a condition I would eventually outgrow. I shared the same hope."

A physical and emotional toll

Jennie's hope was short-lived. The condition she assumed she would outgrow followed her to college. It was during her freshman year at Yale that she finally got an official diagnosis of her condition: Jennie was suffering from migraine. The news was devastating emotionally.

"When I received the diagnosis of migraine, I knew it was a condition I couldn't outgrow," says Jennie. "I realized then that the effects of migraine would limit my career choices and take away many of the opportunities I was hoping to have in my life."

Resilient fight to gain relief

As she has done throughout her battle with migraine, Jennie powered through the pain and ultimately began a career as a journalist. In her brave efforts to limit migraine's disruption to her life and career, she has learned many valuable coping skills.

"I've learned how to push through pain when I have to and make adjustments," says Jennie. "When I was working as a newspaper reporter, I got my work done well ahead of deadlines, so I wasn't derailed by a migraine at the last minute. I also learned to be kinder to myself and ask for help."

Her fight has also included a tireless quest to find a treatment that will relieve her agonizing migraine pain. She tried more than a dozen existing medications for preventive and acute treatment of migraine and participated in several clinical trials for new treatments.

"Life changing" clinical trial

Jennie's battle with migraine took a positive turn in August 2018. A regular follower of the National Institutes of Health's listing of clinical trials, she learned about a new trial evaluating rimegepant, the investigational, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist for the acute treatment of migraine, developed by Biohaven Pharmaceuticals. Treatment with a CGRP receptor antagonist is believed to relieve migraine by blocking neurogenic inflammation, decreasing artery dilation, and inhibiting pain transmission.

Having been disappointed by her earlier clinical trial experiences, Jennie enrolled in the rimegepant study with low expectations. Soon, however, her understandable skepticism would turn into renewed hope for an improved quality of life.

"My experience with rimegepant was different," says Jennie. "For the first time, a drug seemed to provide the relief that would improve my everyday life."

Watershed FDA approval in migraine treatment

In February 2020, rimegepant was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the brand name of NURTEC™ ODT for the acute treatment of migraine in adults. Delivered in a single quick-dissolving tablet, NURTEC ODT disperses almost instantly in a person's mouth without the need for water, offering people with migraine a convenient, discreet way to take their medication anytime and anywhere they need it. Available by prescription, NURTEC ODT may provide long-sought relief to millions of migraine sufferers like Jennie.

"While I know everyone doesn't get the same result, rimegepant has enabled me to regain control of my life," says Jennie, now 39, and the editor of Rice Business magazine, Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Business's alumni publication and a freelance writer for Psychology Today. "I no longer have to worry about burning through sick days or worrying about losing my job. I can go on vacations without the fear of ending up sick in bed from a migraine."

"I hope my story inspires other people with migraine to never give up hope in finding the treatment that improves their lives," adds Jennie.

What is NURTECTM ODT (rimegepant)?

NURTEC ODT orally disintegrating tablets is a prescription medicine for the acute treatment of migraine for attacks with or without aura in adults. NURTEC ODT is not used as a preventive treatment of migraine. It is not known if NURTEC ODT is safe and effective in children.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Do not take Nurtec ODT if you are allergic to Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) or any of its ingredients.

Before you take Nurtec ODT, tell your healthcare provider (HCP) about all your medical conditions, including if you:

* have liver problems,

* have kidney problems,

* are pregnant or plan to become pregnant,

* are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

Tell your HCP about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Nurtec ODT may cause serious side effects including allergic reactions, including trouble breathing and rash. This can happen days after you take Nurtec ODT. Call your HCP or get emergency help right away if you have swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat or trouble breathing. This occurred in less than 1% of patients treated with Nurtec ODT.

The most common side effect of Nurtec ODT was nausea (2% of patients). This is not the only possible side effect of Nurtec ODT. Tell your HCP if you have any side effects. NURTEC is a trademark of Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Ltd.

You are encouraged to report side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088 or report side effects to Biohaven at 1-833-4Nurtec.

Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information and Patient Information located at www.nurtec.com.

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