Why do my meds look different?

(KOMO file photo)

Has this ever happened to you? You get a prescription refilled and the pills or tablets look different.

This will happen when you switch from a brand name drug to a generic equivalent.

"That’s because by law the generic manufacturers cannot produce a pill that looks exactly like the brand, so it has to look different and that's what leads to a lot of the confusion,” said Dr. John Swartzberg head of the editorial board at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

The same generic drug can also look different from time to time, as your pharmacy buys its generics from different suppliers.

"One month your pharmacy may get it from one generic manufacturer and another month get it from another manufacturer, depending on who has the best price,” Dr. Swartzberg said. “Fortunately, these generic drugs are very precisely controlled, so you're going to get the same thing whether it's one generic product or another. That's not a major issue, but it is confusing.”

If you get a refill and notice the color, size or shape of the drug is different from what you normally take, contact your pharmacist to make sure it isn't a mistake.

You can also check your drugs at the Poison Control Center’s Pill Identifier.

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