Follow these links to the previous and next pages.
< Drug Guide Index >
Clicking on a link in the Table of Contents will take you to that section of the drug guide.
Table of Contents (hide)
- 1. Other brand names & branded generic names
- 2. FDA Approved Uses
- 3. Off-Label Uses
- 4. Pros and cons
- 5. Side Effects
- 6. Interesting Stuff Your Doctor Probably Won’t Tell You
- 7. Dosage and How to Take the Drug
- 8. How Long a Drug Takes to Work
- 9. Half-Life & Average Time to Clear Out of Your System
- 10. Shelf Life
- 11. How to Stop Taking a Drug
- 12. Days to Reach a Steady State
- 13. How a Drug Works
- 14. How a Likely a Drug Will Work
- 15. How a Drug Compares with Other Meds
- 16. Comments
US Brand Name: The drug’s brand/trade/proprietary name in the United States
generic name: The drug’s generic/International Nonproprietary Name (INN)
Other Forms: However else it might be available in addition to the default tablet or capsule. E.g. Oral solution, intramuscular injection (IM).
Class: How we categorized the drug. For the most part it’s the same as the rest of pharmaco-medical-industrial complex. Celexa is an antidepressant (AD), Topamax is an antiepileptic drug (AED). Sometimes we go rogue and classify meds based on how they work and chemical structure and not just their approvals. E.g. We call Strattera an AD and will probably reclassify amoxapine as an antipsychotic.
This is where we list any other names we know of for a drug, either in the US or in other countries. We’ll indicate the countries where a name is used, if we have that information.
Branded generic is a complicated term and is explained as a footnote on all the pages, including this one1.
This is what a drug has official approval to be prescribed for in the US.
This is what a drug is prescribed for that it doesn’t have approval for in the US. This includes the clinically significant (i.e. it often works, but for a variety of reasons there’s not enough money to be made to justify the costs of getting FDA approval), the interesting, the complete failures, the dangerous, the desperation moves, and the just plain bizarre. Most of the time there will be links to studies, case reports, etc. to give you an idea of how likely an off-label use might work, is worth exploring, that someone actually did that, etc.
These should be easy enough to figure out. Please don’t base your decision on whether or not to take a med on this section and side effects alone.
These are nowhere near all the potential side effects a med can have. Just a representative sample.
Practically everyone who takes this drug will get one or more of these.
You may or may not get one or more of these. Don’t be surprised either way.
Included for gallows humor. These are real side effects, either from the PI sheet (no link) or case reports (with a link to the case report). “Rare” means fewer than one person in 10,000 gets one of these.
After reading the PI sheets of well over a hundred meds, as well as being somewhat jaded before the crazy took over my life in late 2001, my idea “freaky” might be far different than yours.
Sometimes useful, often not. Especially when it’s a bunch of nutjobs who determine what is “interesting.”
Let’s not forget about the ads. Google went through a lot of trouble to have those spy satellites collect information about you so they could precisely determine which ads you’ll be most likely to respond to.
For each approved application we’ll give you what the drug company recommends right out of the PI sheet, followed by our suggestion.
The main difference between the two is practically the same, no matter what the med:
- We often suggest starting at a lower dosage than the drug companies do.
- We usually suggest increasing your dosage not only at a slower rate, but only if you need to increase it.
- Most medications have a target dosage, our target dosage is the one where your symptoms stopped.
We may have suggestions for clinically significant off-label uses as well.
All dosage suggestions are for adults, and are just that, suggestions for you to discuss with your doctor as part of your treatment plan.
How to take the drug is along the lines of with or without food, in the morning or at night, once or twice a day, etc. Most of the time it’s exactly the same as you’ll find in the PI sheet.
This is our best guess, based on consumer experiences, information from the books & websites in the bibliography, and the PI sheet.
The half-life is usually from the PI sheet. The average time to clear out of your system is approximately the half-life times five. We’ll be explaining this in excruciating detail on a page about pharmacokinetics.
Most drugs have an expiration date of one year past their prescribed or distributed date. That’s not usually the case. In this age of both patients and EMTs needing to use expired medications, for one reason or another, a more accurate comes in handy. The US doesn’t require a shelf life to be published on the PI sheet, but the UK and New Zealand do, so this information comes from the UK electronic Medicines Compendium or the New Zealand Medicine Data Sheets database. The FDA does require shelf life to be on the new drug application (NDA), but NDAs are difficult to find and are usually heavily redacted (large amounts of text blacked out, or entire pages omitted)), so it’s easier for me to get that information from sources outside of the US. Where the governments apparently care about the health of their citizens more than corporate profits, or something.
Our suggestion, so you have something to compare with what your doctor recommends.
Unless they have a better idea in the PI sheet, which they usually don’t, or the drug has a generally accepted discontinuation plan, we start with this rule of thumb:
Decrease the dosage by the standard titration amount (whatever the PI sheet tells you to increase the dosage by when you start taking it) the average time it takes to clear from your system.
For example: with most SSRIs that works out to reducing your dosage by 10–20mg a day every five to six days.
How long until you reach the point where most of the effects associated with peaks and valleys of having more-than-usual (right after you take it) and less-than-usual (right before your next dose) amounts in your system smooth out.
This isn’t on every page. We do our best to explain the experts’ best guesses.
This isn’t on every page. We do our best to give you some realistic odds of how well meds work for various conditions, including off-label applications.
This isn’t on every page. These will be links to various studies comparing a drug with other drugs.
Whatever else there is to write about.
After that it’s comments members of the Crazymeds forum may have on the drug and/or the article, links to the section of the forum about the drug, a link to the US PI sheet and any other PI sheets we can find, a link to a drug-drug interaction checker, and the bibliography.
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< Drug Guide Index >
Follow these links to the previous and next pages.
1) A generic drug produced by a generics manufacturer that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company that makes the branded version. E.g. Greenstone Pharmaceuticals makes gabapentin, and they are owned by Pfizer, who also own Parke-Davis, the makers of Neurontin.
2) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Teva's Budeprion), but otherwise has the same active ingredient as the original branded version (Wellbutrin).
3) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Sanofi-Aventis' Aplenzin, which is bupropion hydrobromide) and uses a salt of the active ingredient that is different from the original branded version and other generics (Wellbutrin, Budeprion and all the others are bupropion hydrochloride). We aren't sure if that really makes a difference or not. The FDA says they're the same thing. As usual, the data are contradictory, but most evidence indicates that the FDA is right and the differences are negligible.
For our purposes a "branded generic name" refers to the second and third definitions.
Page created by: Jerod Poore. Date created: 31 July 2011 Last edited by:
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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and something along the lines of following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.
All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on Crazy Talk: the Crazymeds Forum.
The information on Crazymeds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else. Plus we are big pottymouths and talk about S-E-X a lot.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained from the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets and/or medication guides - which is all you get from sites like WebMD, RxList,
NAMBLA NAMI, etc., the sources that are referenced throughout the site, our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, and what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or medication guide/patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away. OK, you can throw away duplicate copies, but keep at least one, as that’s your proof of purchase of having taken a med in case a doctor doubts your medical history. Plus they take up less space than a bottle, although keeping one inside of a pill bottle is even better.
Crazymeds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
Crazymeds is optimized for ridiculously large screens and browsers that don’t block ads. I use Firefox and Chrome, running under Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazymeds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazymeds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices, in the 12 Galaxies Guiltied to a Zegnatronic Rocket Society, or in all dimensions of reality. Hail Xenu!
‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore
1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.
2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.
3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?* I don’t even need my big-ass rant any more. Heartbleed has made my case for me. And that’s just the one that got all the media attention. The very nature of an open source operating system makes security as much of an illusion as anonymity on teh Intergoogles. Before you flip out too much: the domain Crazymeds is hosted on uses a version of SSL that is not affected by the Heartbleed bug. That’s one of the many reasons why I pay a lot of money and keep this site on Lunarpages.
* Yes, I know I’m using open source browsers. I also test the site using the now-defunct IE and Safari browsers. Their popularity - and superiority - killed IE and Safari, so that’s why I rely on the open source browsers. It’s like brand vs. generic meds. Sometimes the generic is better than the brand.