Are Generic Brands Of Lorazepam The Same?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the difference between different generic brands of Ativan (lorazepam).

Question

I take generic lorazepam 2 mg a day for anxiety. The pharmacy changes the generic brand from time to time. My question is: Are most generic brands the same as far as active ingredients and is it safe to do this for the patient?

Asked by Lovey On Jul 16, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jul 18, 2018

Generic medications that are legally substitutable (by FDA guidelines) with the brand name and between one another are considered "bioequivalent". This means that lab studies show they have the same (within a statistical variance):

  • Rate of absorption
  • Extent of absorption


They also contain the same amount of active ingredient.

Different Lorazepam Brands

In regard to generic brands of Ativan (lorazepam), they will all contain the same active ingredient and are considered "bioequivalent" with one another.


However, and this is a big however for many people, the inactive ingredients can be different between brands. This can certainly cause issues for some. For example, one particular brand may contain lactose while another may not. If you are lactose intolerant, the inactive ingredient can play a substantial role in tolerability.


Below, we list the ingredients for two different generic lorazepam brands to highlight the differences between the two.


Mylan LLC Lorazepam 0.5mg Ingredients

  • Lorazepam 0.5mg
  • Calcium Phosphate
  • Croscarmellose Sodium
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate


Actavis US Lorazepam 0.5mg Ingredients

  • Lorazepam 0.5mg
  • Lactose
  • Magnesium Stearate
  • Microcrystalline Cellulose
  • Polacrilin potassium


Why Do Pharmacies Switch Between Generic Brands?

There are many reasons why your pharmacy may switch between generic brands of a drug, including:

  • Wholesale cost
  • Manufacturer availability
  • Wholesaler availability
  • Insurance formulator coverage
  • Active recalls


If your pharmacy has been switching between generic brands of lorazepam, it is important to find out why. You can certainly request them to dispense a specific manufacturer for you, or to simply keep the manufacturer the same for future fills.


Overall, switching between generic brands (i.e. manufacturers) isn't a big concern for most individuals, and is legally allowable. However, if you are having issues with a particular brand, it is important to talk to your pharmacist about your options.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

About Ativan (lorazepam)

Ativan (lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine that is available as both an oral tablet and injection. It is considered a short duration of action benzodiazepine and is preferred in those with liver disease as it is not metabolized via CYP metabolizing enzymes. In addition, it does not have active metabolites and is therefore one of the preferred benzodiazepines in the elderly. After taking by mouth, it has a rapid onset of action, with effects occurring in as little as 15-30 minutes. The usual duration of action is around 6 to 12 hours per dose.

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