Generic Imitrex approved by the FDA

GSK has tentatively lost patent protection on two of its popular drugs: Coreg and Imitrex. Imitrex is the more profitable of the two, with 2004 sales of $1.1 billion in the US, but the loss of Coreg is substantial as well. Together the two had combined sales of almost $2 billion in 2004. 2005’s were even more impressive: $1.4 billion in the US and over $2.42 billion globally for Coreg. The announcement of the FDA’s approval of Mylan’s generic sumatriptan comes hot on the heels of Imigran (the UK name for Imitrex) going over-the-counter in that country in an effort to retain some of its sales.

Mylan will now have a mandatory 180 day monopoly on the sale of three strengths of Imitrex: 50mg, 100mg, and 150mg tablet forms thanks to the Hatch-Waxman Act that I’ve talked about before, provided GSK doesn’t pay them to not sell it so they can extend their effective patent life by another 6 months, which is certainly a possibility. Injectable and intranasal forms of Imitrex remain covered by patent, and I don’t think we’ll see Imitrex tablets going OTC in this country anytime soon.

[tags]Imitrex, GSK, Sumatriptan, medicine, pharmacy, Coreg, carvedilol[/tags]

143 thoughts on “Generic Imitrex approved by the FDA

  1. Safeway in Northern Virginia is telling customers that the Sumatriptan generic for Imitrex is not available from the manufacturer and may not be for some time…YET, insurance will no longer cover the cost of Imitrex because the generic is “available.” This has been a nightmare for me.

  2. I think you spoke with someone at Safeway that doesn’t know what they’re talking about, hopefully. Talk to a pharmacy manager and see what’s up. You can also go to another pharmacy to get it.

    I’d also talk with a supervisor at your insurance company. I’ve never heard of an insurance company not providing a name brand medication just because there is a generic! As a matter of fact, they usually prefer to sell name brands.

    Sounds like several people are giving you misinformation. lots of good luck!

  3. My imitrex script I got in December from Walgreens is generic. I was really surprised by that. It is called Dr. Reddy’s/ I thought it was a joke but called the pharmacy and they said it was a new generic.

  4. Ellen, you’ve got to be kidding me, right? You’ve never heard of an insurance company not wanting to cover name brands? I’ve had 3 insurance companies in the past year (husband’s plus my own that changed on the 1st). The coverage is/was as follows:

    Husband’s insurance: $15 generic/$40 name brand
    My old insurance: $5 generic/$15 name brand
    My new insurance: $5 generic/$15 name brand with no generic available/greater of $50 or 50% for name brand when a generic is available.

    I was shocked when they tried to charge me $118 for Imitrex a few weeks ago at Safeway. My old coverage was dropped by my employer effective January 1st and the new coverage has brought very unpleasant surprises. I was able to use my husband’s coverage instead, but I feel for those who don’t have options.

  5. What I meant Joy, was name brands that have been available for many years. I too have had difficulty obtaining some name brands that were new, but never that were old.

    My insurance is now denying generic imitrex, saying that it’s not in their formulary, even though they will charge me the same copay? That issue will be continued…

    Lots of good luck to all!!! It’s very scary when you can’t get what you need, especially with these nasty migraines!!!!

  6. I have had nothing but good experiences with Dr. Reddy’s generic Imitrex. I use the 100mg tablets. So far, they have worked each time, every time, with no unusual side effects.

    I used to cut the name brand Imitrex in half to make them last longer, because even with insurance, I was paying almost $165.00 for a three month’s supply that generally lasted 2 months if I did not split them.

    Now I pay $30.00 for a three month supply. I have not tried splitting Dr. Reddy’s yet, but I plan to with my next headache, just to see if it will work. I hope it does!

  7. I’ve been taking imitrex injections as long as the drug has been available. I have used as many as 20 a month. Around 2003 I found a pharmacy in Sun City AZ that was compounding the injections from the nasal spray. The compounded prescription provided me with a large vial of drug. I was able to get about 30 or more injections from one vial using .50cc insulin syringe filling to .35 level. I am now getting the same prescription from a Walgreens in Idaho Falls, Idaho (208-542-4569). The compounded prescription has been a life (and money saver) for me. The non-generic refill has been running about 300.00 and the generic refill drop that at least 50.00 leaving my cost per injection at about 5 to 10 dollars. I use a refill about every 5 months. Of course you have to have a doctor willing to write a prescription for the compound.

  8. Have read on several other blogs that generic Imitrex has been pulled. One comment mentions Dr Reddy’s and its lack of effectiveness. I just got a new 3 month supply of 100mg generic Imitrex. No longer Dr Reddy’s but almost a no-name brand. TEVA Pharmaceuticals in Israel manufactured for TEVA Pharmaceuticals in Sellersville, PA. I live in PA, so that may have something to do with the source change, don’t know. Haven’t had the need to take one yet. They are shaped differently also. Look similar to 50mg Imigren, oblong, not triangular, similarly pink in color to the 100mg GSK.

  9. I have used imitrex for the past 10 years – my insurance would pay for it with a co-pay of $35 – then my insurance changed and they wouldn’t cover anything related to migraines. So i researched on the internet and came up with inhousepharmacy. The seem to work almost as well as imitrex at a lot less cost. But I just received a reorder – and had strange side effects. All the muscles and joints in my body hurt – even my toes! Just wondering if anyone else has had this problem.

    wendy

  10. I have used IMIGRAN from Inhouse Pharmacy for abouta year, with no problems. I just reordered, so hopefully nothing will change. Wendy, what strength did you use when you had the side effects?
    I priced a generic, sumatriptan, and the price was still higher than the Imigran.

  11. Patti, I buy the In HOuse’s 50 mg and I cut them in half.. The drug store pill cutter works well…. and I take 25 mg.. If I still am in bad shape in an hour, I take the other half. Oh, I usually take an ALeve aith it.. since the new Imitrex has Aleve in it…

    By the way, I bought InHouses generic once (they were out of Imigran) and it worked just fine.. not much cheaper though…

    Secondly, I have stopped taking ALL sugar free products and sweeteners.. and my migraines have subsided by 90 %… Not eve crystal light.. or anythoing that is marked “sugar free” and has sweeteners in them. I have stopped nothing else.. so I know that is it. Some say only the Aspertame is a problem.. but I quit it all. My son in law, who is really into nutrition says I can take SPLENDA is okay..but I ‘m afraid to use any sweeters since I am haivng such great results… Bobbi

  12. Hi, I have taken Imitrex for years (50 & 100). Now using Dr Reddys via insurance. Never had any side effects from Imitrex, but lately nave been having much joint aches and pains. The timing is in sync with the change from brand name to generic.

  13. I’ve been using the Dr. Redding since the beginning of the year and haven’t seen any difference from the brand name Imitrex.

    I was very disappointed with my Medicare part D insurance that initially would not accept it as a generic, but last week I got a wonderful surprise. I got my refill and was only charged $5.00!!! I’m hoping what that means is that every insurance is accepting it now as generic. If this is true anyone should be able to get a generic card like Wal-Mart’s and be able to get it for the generic price! That would be truly wonderful for us all!!

  14. Has anyone had any kidney problems develop from taking Imitrex or Imigran? I’ve taken Imitrex for years, with no problems, then switched to Imigran about a year or so ago. I don’t take it that often, but I’m now struggling with a bladder infection, which seems to be affecting my kidneys. My antibiotic (Cipro) is causing me migraines, and I’ve taken Imigran 3 times, and each time, my kidneys got sharp pains. Not quite sure if it’s a coincidence. Since Imitrex has a warning for people with kidney disease,, I’m now afraid to take anymore Imigran. So I have 2 more days of Cipro, and likely, migraines.

  15. I’ve never had any problems taking Imitrex and I’ve been taking it since it came out, in high doses since around 1993…however, please don’t base what you do for yourself on other peoples experiences in this situation, go see your doctor. Pain in the kidneys for any reason is nothing to take lightly, so please check it out with your doctor. Good luck to you, I hope it’s really just from your bladder infection.

  16. GlaxoSmithKline
    uscrcweb@gsk.com

    If you have tried Dr. Reddy’s generic form of Imitrex, and it did not work for you, I suggest bombard GSK with email feedback about the ineffectiveness of Dr. Reddy’s sumatriptan.

    I’ve read a lot of feedbacks, and the overall concensus is — Dr. Reddy’s generic sumpatriptan does not work any where near as well as brand Imitrex. I think GSK needs to know this. Forget calling them. I tried 3 times, chose the “Consumer Complaint” choice from the many choices, and each time, I got a recording saying we must have a poor connection, please call back another time, good-bye. On the 4th call, I chose “agent” instead, and was given the above email address. If you go to GSK website, you will not find an address, therefore, email is better than nothing.

  17. I’m not sure what GSK has to do with Dr. Reddy’s, an India based pharmaceutical. However, I have been using the Dr. Reddy formula and one other generic, along with Imigran, with success. However, there is a difference in the effectiveness. I brought this up with the neurologist and he told me that the GSK Imitrex uses a quick release formula that apparently will metabolizes quicker than the generics and unless the generics employ this mechanism, there may be a reduction in the effectiveness – in so far as it might take longer to see relief. Remember, sumatriptans are most effective when taken before the full onset of a migraine. If you wait, you may need a higher dose or it may take longer to experience relief. He indicated that if I felt the generics weren’t working for me, we could go back to the name brand. But for the price, I am inclined to put up with a little less effectiveness that I can control by medicating myself quickly when an onset is likely.

  18. I’ve been taking the Dr. Reddy’s since they came out after taking Imitrex for many years. I like many of you cut the 100 mg. in half. I use a pill spliter. I have anywhere from 5-20 headaches a month. After taking the Dr. Reddy’s I started having mouth/tongue pain. I clench my jaw(not on purpose), especially at night, have sores in my mouth due to my teeth rubbing the insides of my cheeks and my tongue burns most of the time. I went to the Dr who sent me to a specialist who came up with Nothing! So 6 months later I am still at square one. It could be a coincidence but I am wondering if it’s the Dr. Reddy’s since this didn’t start until after I started taking them. Anyone else have any side effects similar to these?
    They work fine at getting rid of the migraines although I really do think they cause rebound headaches and am considering asking my neurologist on Tues. if I can try something else.
    Frustrating!

  19. Hi ..Wondered if anyone else, after having migraines for my entire life, has tried stopping ALL artificial suger substitutes. It is the only thing I have changed in my life style, for the last 2 or 3 months, and the migraines have diminished by maybe 90 %… It is unreal!! Please let me know if anyone else has had these results.. I check every thing I put in my mouth…. every label. I just can’t believeit… Bobbi

  20. Hi Kelly,

    No, I have never gone through what you are from Dr. Reddy’s with your mouth and am so sorry to hear about it!

    As far as rebounds…I’m sure everyone on this site will agree, any of the triptans will cause them, it’s a double edge sword.

    So sorry to tell you this fact, but you should be aware. I have yet to figure out a solution.

    As a reminder to anyone who has not read my previous posts, The Migraine Cure, now called The Dzugan Method, is the first treatment that has ever helped me. I was getting 20 – 30 migraines a month and am now down to 4 – 8. It is a process, but again, it’s the first one that has worked in any way. It also cured “Everything” else that ailed me, everything!!!

    It’s based on bio-identical hormones and supplements, check it out on http://www.theduzganmethod.com. These are amazing people!!! I’ve been on the program now for 2 years and never, ever anticipated this progress. I’m not cured yet, but I’m very hopeful.

    Lots of good luck and good health!!

  21. Bobbi,
    It’s funny that you mention the sugar thing because everytime I have been consuming alot of artificial sugars like in diet drinks, etc. I have lots of headaches and I quit drinking them for awhile and the headaches decrease. Then I get lazy about watching my sugar consumption and the cycle repeats. The same thing happens when I start eating lots of candy…and I LOVE candy. So I do think at least for me there is definitely a sugar connection. Right now I am eating lots of fruits & veg. and watching my diet so things are going “fairly” well right. now.

    Ellen,
    Thanks. As a women in menopause I am very interested in & have done some reading about bioidentical hormones but never thought of them for migraines. Hmm? Something to think about.

  22. Kelly., Sugar does NOT bother me…ONLY artificial sweeteners..and the only way you can test it, is to cut out ALL sweeteners.. that means anything that says SUGAR_FREE…. I have had headaches forever… and the difference is HUGE!!!!I am not a pop drinker..but I was drinking Crystalk Light…no more.. You ahve to give it 2 weeks..read every can , box , bottle and then tell me if you see a difference.. On the side, I am saving tons by not needing my immitrex. If I feel even the slightest headache I THINK might be coming, I pop one advis or even Ibuprophen, and it’s gone! I am amazed. Is it only me???Bobbi

  23. Has anyone else had any problems placing orders at http://www.inhousepharmacy.com The last time I needed to order Imigran they were going through some website changes and now I call an get a message that will contact me back in 24 hrs, I hate the thought of going retail on my migraine meds–

  24. Everyone……….. at least for me the generic brand ” Dr. Reddy’s) is a waste of money; does not work for me. I went to fill my prescription and the pharmacy said my insurance will not pay for Imitrex any longer since there is a generic version. I asked if my doctor checks of name brand drug will they fill it and Rite Aid said no. I’m going back to my Dr to find out what can be done; Imitrex was a god send!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! still suffering fourth day

  25. Marshall, I don’t know how long ago you tried to get Imigran from InHouse Pharm.. but I got my supply last week.. Yes, they were out of it once.. but this time, I had it in a week. I have never tried the generic, and don’t plan to do so until you all on the web find it works.. that said, the price of the generic, and Imigran (the Glaxo Brand name for Imitrex overseas) is almost the same..so why change? I still buy the 50 grm, the Imigran are oblong so easy to cut in half, and with a Tylenol or 2, or an Aleve… IF taken at the onset of headache.. It works fine. I just had throid surgery, and started getting headaches..maybe from the new meds. But after a month, they have finally ceased.. I eat NOTHING with artificial sweetener.. For me, as i said before , BIG difference…!!Nothing that says Diet on it.. Has anyone else cut out artificial sweeteners and found a difference.. I am saving hundreds of dollars!!! B

  26. I had to do a phone order for Imigran–I usually ordered on their website but couldn’t–I start my Medicare “D” on 9-1-09 and will have the doctor write a script for a generic migaine med for my local pharma–I’ll let you all know how it works–if it does work it will save me from paying $85 to just $8

  27. Does anyone know when the injections will be available in generic form ? I throw up the pills , so that route is out. Help ?

  28. For those not happy with Dr. Reddy’s, you might inquire about generic Imitrex from TEVA Pharmaceuticals. I get mine through CVS. Found it to be a better alternative than the Dr. Reddy’s. The change was made by CVS not me. I get the 100s and cut them in half, which is facilitated by their oval shape. One thing I have found is that they are not as fast acting as the name brand, but they are effective.

  29. Thanks for the info Peter…I’m going to try and get a hold of the generic from TEVA to see if I experience any difference.

    Thanks for keeping us informed! The more info we have, the better chance we have!

  30. I have been on the generic for imitrex for about 1 yr now and I have been experiencing terrible joint pain! I feel like if I have the flu, but my insurance won’t approve imitrex so I have to stay with the generic :( please tell me if anybody is experiencing this symptoms as well.
    Sylvia

  31. My insurance company finally said I could get immitrex . with a 3 month prescription..so, it is the end of the year… I decided.why not? Until I checked the price.. I pay less from my on -line supplier (see above) so why would I bother.. Although, I must sat that just once they were out of Immitrex, so I ordered the generic.(no difference in cost really)..and it did work. But usually I get the GSK Imigran… cheap enough and usually available…and I can order as many as I want on hand.. The Migraleif along with NO artificial sweeterers..meaning nothing thqt says sugar free on the package, is keeping the migraines much less frequent.

  32. All of a sudden now Costco has the Dr. Reddys for 6 tablets $13.00, I was paying around $100 for 6 of the Imitrex just a couple months ago. That’s with no insurance coverage. I was very happy with the savings, but yes I too have lots of joint pain..as Sylvia suggested, not sure if it’s the generic Dr Reddys or not because I also have MS. The migraines are too intense to go without the meds, endless cycle of pain! The meds also cause more rebounds for sure, I’m convinced that’s true.

  33. Slyvia, I have found that a reduce dose helps. I experience both muscle and joint pain and the reduced dosage seems to help. I have also found that being able to take it before I’ve eaten helps with the reduced dosage and time for headache to be diminish. Granted, you can’t always plan to have headaches before you eat, but I thought I’d pass that on. I often have them in the morning when I wake up, so it generally works for me.

  34. -the generic imitrex is available at the site www. genericdoctor.com.i have also the same problem then i know about that site,i talk to the customer support chat and got full information.after thatI saved a lot of money going to the site genericdoctor.com ,for my generic prescriptions… one word of advice. -I am using services that before I could never afford and with any other pharmacies. . Over all A++ service in product quality and in support,they gave us products on fair prices,the quality of products are superb,And one thing I have to say about the pharmacy that the delivary is fast and quick,and they gave quick response too,one most important fact or service is that they gave 24*7 dayz service.the site is mcafee and consumer guard supported so there is no risk.I will definitely be buying more in the future! I hope this helps people in the states who aren’t sure of where to buy this stuff from.

  35. I have recently been able to obtain the generic Sumatriptan of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Walgreen’s special ordered it for me. I’m pretty pleased with it. I find it works fast and I don’t have the hangover or rebounds that I did from the Imitrex or Dr. Reddy’s!

    Unfortunately, I just feel into the Medicare part D donut hole and had to pay $200 for 18, 100 mg pills instead of $5 as a generic!

  36. Found this site while researching inactive ingredients in generic Imitrex. I am a nurse, and my daughter-in-law has MS.
    Her neurologist told her when was first diagnosed to stop all
    use of Aspartame. While they can’t list a “cause and effect” relationship, they have seen a common thread among MS sufferers that consume a lot of it. When she sent me the info on aspartame on the web, I quit using it immediately. Within 10 days, all the joint pain I was having was gone, and hasn’t returned in 4 years. I couldn’t help sharing this when I saw Shawn’s post. I also suffer infrequent migraines, and have used Imitrex with good results, but the headaches are much less frequent now without Aspartame in my diet.

  37. Thinking about ordering generic drugs online? I was afraid…! But actually I believe now that adlenta.com is a good online pharmacy. They provide the medicines at time. My experience with adlenta.com was great.I am amazed at the difference Retin A has made to my skin in just the space of one month. I have started using it for some fine lines I have under my eyes, the fine lines are still there and I don’t expect them to go so quick, but apart from that my skin looks and feels great.for more details goto http://www.adlenta.com

  38. Thinking about ordering generic drugs online? I was afraid…! But actually I believe now that adlenta.com is a good online pharmacy. They provide the medicines at time. My experience with adlenta.com was great. I am amazed at the difference Rating A has made to my skin in just the space of one month. I have started using it for some fine lines I have under my eyes, the fine lines are still there and I don’t expect them to go so quick, but apart from that my skin looks and feels great. For more details go to http://www.adlenta.com

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