Generic Drugs for Diabetic Blood Pressure

Diabetic hypertensive patients have greater access to generic drugs but not better blood pressure control

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) A pharmaceutical company has the sole rights to produce a brand name drug for only so long. Eventually, the patent expires and other companies can produce a generic version of the drug. Most of the time the generic version is sold for less.

A generic drug is the same as its brand name counterpart in dosage form, safety, strength, how it is taken and how it works. The researchers in a recent study found no significant link between access to generic blood pressure drugs and blood pressure control.

In other words, greater access to generic drugs did not appear to improve blood pressure control.

"Control your blood pressure at all times."

The study was conducted by Doyle M. Cummings, PharmD, FCP, FCCP, of East Carolina University, and colleagues. According to the FDA, generic drugs are typically sold at much lower costs than branded drugs. The Congressional Budget Office reported that generic drugs may save consumers about $8 to $10 billion a year.

In their study, Dr. Cummings and colleagues saw an increase in the number of diabetes patients with high blood pressure who had access to generic blood pressure drugs. Nevertheless, a majority of these patients did not achieve blood pressure control. The study included 5,375 participants, 61 percent of whom were African American.

In 2003, 66 percent of patients with diabetes and high blood pressure were accessing generic blood pressure drugs. By 2007, that number increased to 81 percent. The odds of achieving good blood pressure control was 66 percent higher in 2007 than in 2003. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is diagnosed when a person has blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher.

Despite the greater access to generic drugs and better odds of controlling blood pressure, less than half of the study's participants reached a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mmHg.

In addition, the study's results showed that African Americans had poorer blood pressure control than whites. Blood pressure control was also worse among men, those with limited income and those who did not stick to their treatment plan.

The study was published November 12 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 19, 2012
Last Updated:
November 23, 2012