Pain relief: Does name brand heal faster than generic?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) No one likes to suffer through a day with a runny nose, sore muscles or a headache. When you're down for the count, it's important to have medicine that gets you back on your feet fast.

If you pay an extra dollar or two because you think name brand medicines and rubs will do the trick, we found out you may be throwing your money right down the drain.

We visited Pharmacist Elaine Inigo at Walgreen's in Myrtle Beach to see if there's any difference between name brand and generic pain relievers, muscle rubs and allergy medicines.

Right off the bat, Inigo's answer was no. She says the Food and Drug Administration requires all generic and name brand medicines to have similar dosages of active ingredients. She says often times inactive ingredients will differ.

"[People] think it's better and more potent if it costs more money and that's why they buy [name brand] instead of generic," she explained. "They think they're getting cheated out of a product, which is not true."

Judy Childers and Jenna Miller both use the products we checked out, and both said often times they don't notice a difference in the power of medicines when switching between generic and name brand.

"Whatever was cheaper, that's what I go for," Childers said. "I was at the maximum dose [of Advil and ibuprofen] for a long time and it wasn't doing anything and I couldn't see improvements in that."

Miller had the same results when she switched between Icy Hot and generic muscle rubs.

"I feel that it's the same as getting name brand Icy Hot as opposed to Equate or some other generic brand," she explained.

We had Inigo compare the ingredients of Walgreen's ibuprofen, Advil, Icy Hot and Walgreen's muscle rub, and all of the active ingredients were the same. The only difference was the size, shape and labeling.

Inigo says whenever possible, try generic products. It will save you quite a few dollars, too. Each generic medicine we tried out was $1.50 less than its name-brand competitor, and in some cases you bought more product.

Experts say high demand is a reason why generic medicine prices are falling and you're finding more versions on the store shelves of your favorite drug store. Inigo says on average, generic brands are priced 20 percent cheaper than name brand medicines.

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