Health and Lifestyle

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Contraceptives 101: How To Choose The Right One For You

Contraceptives are aimed at preventing the transfer of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and to prevent pregnancy. Thus, the contraceptive that you choose to use needs to be effective for both uses. Contraceptives are made for both men and women and while each category of contraceptive varies, the most common male contraceptives are the condom, and the most popular contraceptive choice for women are oral contraceptives. But the common question that both men and women face is “Is choosing a generic contraceptive as good as choosing a brand name?

The FDA has different rules for generic drugs than for the originals. When first introduced to the market, drugs have to undergo a series of tests to make sure that they not only do what they allege but also to make sure that they don't have unpleasant or dangerous side effects. Generic drugs do not undergo such stringent testing procedures.

With low-dose oral contraceptives (ones that have only 20 micrograms of Ethinyl estradiol), the effectiveness of generic drugs is not adequately tested by the FDA. Brand name drugs have to be within 10% effectiveness, and so a brand name low-dose pill would still prevent pregnancy. However, with a generic low-dose pill, the pill could theoretically have a low as 14.4 micrograms of Ethinyl estradiol and still be considered suitable by FDA guidelines. A dosage this low will not prevent contraception. This means that if you are choosing a low-dose contraceptive, as many women are, you are better to choose a brand name alternative.

The same rule can be used by and large for physical contraceptives such as condoms. Generic brands or brands that are less well known may well sell their condoms for less but bear in mind that less money is spent on manufacturing these condoms too. This means that they are lower quality products that may tear or break. So why not spend a couple of pence more on a more well-reputed condom brand, rather than having to spend a load on abortion or on STD drugs?

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