Generic Drugs When?
August 31, 2009 3:28 PM   Subscribe

When will Effexor XR (extended release) go generic in the US?

I've Googled around but have found non-answers and contradicting answers. Is there an official place to go to find out?

As a bonus question, there are other drugs that I'm curious about. Where, in general, can I go to find out about when they will go generic in the US? Or, how long after a drug is released to the market does the patent expire?
posted by misanthropicsarah to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
You'll generally have better results when looking for generic versions of drugs if you actually look for the drug, rather than a brand name it trades under. In this case, the active ingredient in Effexor is venlafaxine.

It seems that there is sort of already a generic venlafaxine extended release tablet for sale in the US:

There is a generic version of venlafaxine XR that comes in tablet form, as opposed to Effexor XR, which comes in capsule form. When taken with food, this medication should act just like Effexor XR -- that is, it should have the same absorption and should last as long. However, this medication is technically not equivalent to Effexor XR and is approved only for the treatment of depression and social anxiety disorder; it is not approved for generalized anxiety disorder or for panic disorder.

For some people, switching to venlafaxine XR tablets may be a good, cost-saving alternative. However, because the medication is not equivalent to Effexor XR, you will need a new prescription from your healthcare provider.

posted by Dysk at 3:34 PM on August 31, 2009

Is there an official place to go to find out?

Yes, you should consult "The Orange Book" (aka Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations). If you pull up Effexor XR (I used the 37.5mg dosage but it shouldn't matter) you can see that the last patent on the list expires on September 20, 2017.
posted by jedicus at 3:37 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

According to my clinic, it has gone generic. Right now it's $90/month, but they told me in 6 months it would drop to about $7/month. That 6 months should be ending soon.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:39 PM on August 31, 2009

In addition, the release of generic venlafaxine is the cause of the release of Pristiq, which is nearly an identical drug (desvenlafaxine). It's a metabolite of Effexor. They (Wyeth) are losing their exclusivity on venlafaxine, so they are trying to get patients started on Pristiq instead so they have an exclusive hold on them.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:42 PM on August 31, 2009

IndigoRain: The patents covering regular Effexor have expired, but the patents covering Effexor XR are still in force. The generic that will become available will be equivalent to regular Effexor, not the extended release version.
posted by jedicus at 10:37 PM on August 31, 2009

Ah, I see. Thanks Jedicus.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:39 PM on September 3, 2009

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