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sertraline vs. zoloft

I used to be on zoloft for 4 yrs and felt good...stopped for 6 months and on my 3rd week of sertraline right now not feeling as good the first time around. Is there a difference with the two drugs?
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Avatar universal
I am good on brand name Zoloft and feel like I'm going to die and have terrible anxiety when I take generic Sertraline. There is definitely a difference even though I don't know what it is.
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Yes, I've been on brand Zoloft for 25 yrs and now, since I had to go on medicare Pfizer will no longer help me with the cost. It's $ 400 per month even with my ins. I had to switch to Sertraline and I definitely can tell the difference. This is the medication that has worked for me all these years.  Pfizer was only asking $24 for 3 months of 150mg a day.  To get Zoloft 150mg it would cost me over $1000 for 3 months. That just doesn't seem right! I wish Pfizer would offer the program for people that have switched to the Perscription D program because of medicare.
That doesn't sound right.  Even when it was brand new Zoloft didn't cost that much.  The generic is less expensive, much less expensive, but it was never a super expensive drug.  Something is strange here, unless they just raised the price out of range due to almost everyone who takes it uses the generic.  The brand name is usually better than the generic, but the generic is usually good enough for most people.  When it's not, it is a problem.  
That does sound inflated, to be honest.  My doctor says that they can write for brand name only and the insurance usually will cover it. However, I go ahead with generic on a lot of things without issue.  The issue with generics that can come up is that ya, side effects can change month to month as they may pull your script from a different generic manufacturer. So, then the slightly different pill make up (even when using the same components that make it work on your mental health issue) causes different things each month.  I've personally never had an issue with this when taking a chronic medication.  But you may.Then the brand name can be explained by your doctor to your insurance company.  If you have insurance---  EVEN if the brand isn't covered, they normally give a discount.  I just ran into that with a script for my son.  For those without insurance, I know that Pfizer has an excellent indigent patient program.  It's hard though once a med goes generic. MOST take the generic.  The manufacturer then has less supply.  But I'd speak to your insurance company. And you doctor.
I'm confused, Mom.  No doctor is limited in the prescriptions they can write, and for the decades I've been going through this my docs all wrote for generics as soon as they became available. You'd have to ask for the brand name to get it, and of course many insurers don't even cover brand names if there's a generic.  
https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/formulary/  Insurance companies have a formulary with medications on tiers.  I'm sure you have heard of this.  Generics are pushed. But a doctor can write for brand name and you can have it covered if the doctor wins approval for this through your insurance.  They have a whole complicated system of coverage.  What insurance does with your prescription and how they cover it is different for every individual based on their coverage.  I personally have absolutely no reason not to use the free or super cheap generic medication as I've never noticed a difference.  If someone did, their doctor would write dispense as written.  If it got kicked back from insurance, the doctor would be notified to state WHY to the insurance company through the normal procedure (like prior authorization, etc.). They'll either cover it completely or at a discounted rate if you have insurance based on contracting.  To help with your confusion.
I'm not confused, Mom, I know this.  I was confused because you stated your doc says they can write for brand name only and that's not logical, virtually all insurance companies insist on generic if it's available.  The fact is, the generic is usually so cheap compared to the brand name that it may very well be less expensive that the co-pay for a brand name even if insurance does cover it and you pay for the generic out of pocket, depending on the drug and how long it has been a generic.  Of course, these days, companies have been buying old drugs and charging a lot of money even for generics.  The classic example is insulin, which the inventor never patented so it would be cheap and available for all but the pharma companies bought all the rights anyway and now charge a lot of money for it.  It's a cold world out there in the US because all other countries regulate the price of drugs.  
No substitutes and dispense as written has to be legally honored.  If an insurance company pushes back, a doctor can use the traditional method of prior authorization/doc letter to support.  I personally think generics are fine for most drugs but some super sensitive people may react and a doctor CAN explain that to be the case as well as some meds are more prone to this.  From an article I read: "For medicines classified as “narrow therapeutic index drugs”—such as certain antiseizure medicines—it could make sense to stick with a brand-name drug if the doctor recommends it. For other patients, a generic may work perfectly, though they should be carefully monitored."  So, it's certainly worth a try if the poster has issues and her doctor will support the brand name being used in place of generic.  
And for further info, there were some threads on here in the past where people were switched from brand name to generic and the generic didn't work as well.  My understanding is, brand name is almost always a better bet, and some of the reasons why you've already stated.  Quality control is much better by brand name manufacturing than for generics, as many of the companies that make generics pretty much consider paying fines for poor quality to be just the price of doing business.  But you can't beat the price.  Peace.
To the poster, just check with 1. your doctor if they support your being on brand name verses generic based on your body's reaction to generic sertraline.  If they support you, they should go to bat to you writing dispense as written or no substitution and providing reasoning via a letter to your insurance provider.  and then 2. check with your insurance company.  You may find it ends up being covered.  OR you at least pay a discounted price.  And if the insurance company says no, you can appeal.  I have actually won an insurance company appeal as they expect no one to go through the process 'for real'.  They make it a paper work heavy process and a bit of a pain in the butt. But many do win the appeals. And if the appeal does not go in your favor, if you have a company that you or your spouse work for that the insurance is through, you can make your plea to them.  I've done this also (first baby was at an in network hospital but the anesthesiologist was out of network and the charges were outrageous.  Two failed appeals with the insurance company resulted in my calling my HR department's benefits coordinator. They overruled the insurance and those charges were absorbed and covered. Who asks the anesthesiologist if they are in network providers at an in network hospital when they are about to get put out unexpectedly put out?  crazy).  You never know and all is worth a try.   good luck to you.
This is a big problem and experts do advise if you have a procedure at a hospital demand in network providers, especially the anesthesiologist.  I have also won with an insurance company -- and I've also lost most of the time.  I think Mom gives great advice here and I hope it helps.
Zoloft works for me, generic does not. I've tried the other equivalents, they all took me to a dark place I never want to go back to. Generic might be the same ingredients, but different formulation.  
Avatar universal
Here's a theory to sleep on.  I've been on a generic anti-anxiety drug, Xanax, made by Greenstone (generic arm of Pfizer) since 2000.  It was, by far, the best generic Xanax available (up until 2 years ago.)  What happened?  This generic  (called alprazolam) was probably actually the identical name brand Xanax manufactured by Pfizer. Pfizer simply sends the true Xanax formula to Greenstone; Greenstone just puts a generic number on it, so you are really buying and taking the name brand Xanax.  A pharmacy manager told me this is a very common practice among big pharma.  As of 2 years ago, I find Pfizer's generic Xanax now has NO EFFICACY!   Why?  My guess:  Pfizer has been trying to purchase another pharmaceutical company offshore (Ireland) to save federal taxes Pfizer must pay to the IRS. And Pfizer has been waiting for government approval of this purchase all this time. Pfizer's potential purchase of this drug company (Allergan) is a huge incentive for Pfizer to cut costs and  try to make their generic drugs as cheaply as possible (using a new cheap formula, instead of simply passing down the REAL Xanax to Greenstone.) By doing this, Pfizer's income statement shows the largest profits possible on paper to Allergan's  board of directors.  And if that's the case,  there is a higher probablility the Allergan board will approve the sale of their firm to Pfizer.

So if Pfizer has done this to their generic version of Xanax, whose to say they aren't playing the same game with Zoloft and their Greenstone generic, Setraline?  

Why did generic drugs come on the scene in the late 70's?  (Prior to that there were no such things as generic prescriptions.)  Can you say, nursing homes, skyrocketing government medicare costs, skyrocketing hospital costs, VA hospitals, etc? (All subsidized by the government.) Generics are a way to keep government's medical expenditures down, at the expense of the Americans who depend upon 1st line quality name-brand drugs.  Do you think anyone on Capitol Hill actually takes generic drugs when the name brand is available?  
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Avatar universal
There are different "acceptable levels" of the active ingredient in generic medications. Additionally, there are different fillers. Many generics, in this case, sertraline, come from overseas, and have less stringent manufacturing processes than we do in the U.S. If possible, ask your physician do write your prescription as DAW (dispense as written) for zoloft. Hopefully your insurance will cover it. Good luck.
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16426782 tn?1447843358
Yes, Zoloft also have some common side effects like insomnia, dizziness, nausea, skin rash, headache, diarrhea, constipation,weight loss etc.
I have experienced dizziness and headache when I started taking Zoloft but later my doctor put me on lower dosage. And its working fine.
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Avatar universal
Hi there. How do you feel now being back on regular Zoloft? Please let me know and how long it took for it to work. Thanks!
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Avatar universal
i am experiencing the same! This is awful. Are you still going through it? Please let me know.
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