Using Generic Drugs Wisely

With so many products on today’s market, it makes sense to shop wisely. However, wise shopping is often equated with buying the least expensive product. And while price should be a factor in deciding which product to buy, it shouldn’t be the only one.

This is especially true when it comes to generic products—including generic drugs. Although most generic drugs are as good as their brand-name counterparts, some are inferior. It pays, then, to do your homework before you buy.

Some generic drugs can cause adverse side effects. While serving on the Drug Specifications Committee for Los Angeles County, I found that one generic brand of diphen-hydramine, an antihistamine used for allergies and nausea, actually caused nausea and vomiting in many patients. An investigation showed that one of the ingredients used in the manufacturing process of this particular generic drug caused the nausea.

Other generic drugs have a low bioavailability measure. In other words, they do not reach the bloodstream as quickly or in as high a concentration as the brand names. In fact, some never reach an effective concentration. So, even though a patient might appear to save money on a generic prescription, he may have to make additional visits to the doctor and buy refills in order to get the desired effect. This may actually increase the total cost to the patient.

The following guidelines can help you avoid some of these problems. They can help you make sure that the drugs you buy—whether brand name or generic—are safe and effective.

1. Ask your physician if there is an acceptable generic drug available and, if so, to indicate this on the prescription.

2. Be sure you understand the physician’s and pharmacist’s instructions on how to take the drug and what to expect from it.

3. If a pharmacist recommends a generic product, ask if the bioavailability data shows that the drug meets all the specifications of the brandname product.

4. If you decide to use a generic drug, make sure that you receive the same brand of generic on each refill. Do not change brands once you have begun to take a medication.

5. Most of the better brands of generics have an identification mark on the tablet or capsule called an “identi-code.” Usually it is a combination of numbers and letters. Don’t accept any drug that does not have such a marking.

6. Ask the pharmacist to put an expiration date on each label.

7. Report to your physician and pharmacist immediately if you experience any unusual or adverse effects after taking the drug.

8. Don’t allow anyone but the person named to take the drugs.

9. Be cautious of the person who wants to discuss only price. Bruce H. Woolley, professor of applied pharmacology and therapeutics, Brigham Young University

The Dishes Dilemma

After a recent activity, I made a quick phone call to a girl from my Beehive class to tell her that she had been missed. On the other end of the line was a tearful, angry girl. It had been her night to do the dishes, and as a result, she had missed the activity.

We need to teach our children the value of work, the responsibility of belonging to a family, the joy of service, but what was taught in this instance? Responsibility or resentment? Service or servitude?

As a child, the concept of having a turn at dish duty was foreign to me. No, we didn’t have a maid. But dishes were never just one person’s chore in our home, dishes were everyone’s responsibility. After dinner, we all “jumped up from the table,” as Mom used to say, and did them together. Everyone got busy—Dad in the dishpan; Mom putting food away; kids clearing the table, drying, and putting away the dishes. Even without a dishwasher, it never took more than fifteen minutes from start to shiny-clean finish. Few excuses were ever accepted for nonparticipation—not big brother heading for the bathroom or sister having to do homework. After all, it only took a few minutes; anything could wait that long.

What did we learn in our kitchen? Cooperation, sharing, service, and love. Oh, we learned a lot of corny songs from our father, too. He would sing “You Are My Sunshine” and we’d all join in. At seventy he still “jumps up from the table” and heads for the dishpan.

At my home, I wouldn’t do dishes any other way. A lot of sharing goes on in a kitchen when everyone is helping. It’s a warm, loving place to be; and I’m thankful that my parents found this solution to the dishes dilemma. Karen C. Anderson, Renton, Washington

Lively Scripture Study—by Topic

It all began one Sunday when my husband came home from a meeting with a study sheet on the Millennium. He was anxious to share it with us, and the whole family became involved in a lively, informative discussion.

The success of this discussion gave us an idea for perking up our often sleepy family scripture study time. Every now and then, for variety in our regular study, we pick a subject and have each family member examine that subject during the week in his personal study time. Each of us writes down five questions about the topic, then on Sunday, we discuss the topic as a family.

The first week we chose the topic of “Zion”. During the week as we studied, we shared our findings with each other. We asked questions when stumped and shared new insights. That Sunday all the family came to scripture study with their scriptures and questions in hand ready to test the rest of us. We found that only a few questions were duplicated, even though we all used the same books as references.

We also found that in our individual preparation we had each been so involved in our own questions that we had overlooked some of the basic and important aspects of the subject. Often we could not answer the others’ challenges. Again we had an exciting gospel discussion. Every family member participated. And we didn’t have our usual problem of Mom and Dad trying to pry a discussion out of children who were only half paying attention.

After the discussion we typed the questions and references on a sheet of paper and placed them in a notebook. There we can use them in preparing talks and lessons and in our personal study.

Using this method as a break in our regular study has kept us challenged and enthusiastic. It has also helped us understand the importance of regularly studying the scriptures. Sandi Heywood, Eagar, Arizona

[illustrations] Illustrated by Carol Stevens