Quick rebranding update: Soma, Lyrica/Gabapentin, Pristiq/Effexor

by Caleb Reading

Soma (Carisoprodol)  has been available in a generic 350 mg strength for years now.  I’m not sure when this started, but I just saw a trade magazine ad for brand name Soma in 250 mg.  Great.  So you can pay a much higher price for weaker pain management.  I’m sure they’re probably going to claim it has lower abuse potential than the cheap stuff.  Yeah, some junkies like to mix Soma with their Vicodin.  These same people would eat Flintstones vitamins and cat poop if they thought that combo might get them a little extra buzz.  And it totally does.  Hey, Vicodin abusers, EAT CAT POOP AND VITAMINS.  It’ll get you reeeeeeally high.  Trust me.

I’ve wrote about Pristiq before.  It’s very similar to Effexor (which is already generic) and Effexor XR (which will go generic within a few years). Technically, Pristiq is the main metabolite of Effexor, meaning if you take Effexor your body can turn it into Pristiq.  It’s the same deal with Lyrica (Pregabalin) and generic Neurontin (Gabapentin).  Your body will break Gabapentin down into Lyrica, and yet Lyrica costs way, way more than generic Gabapentin.  And some doctors still write prescriptions for Lyrica in patients that haven’t even tried Gabapentin first.  Argh.

I’m writing about Pristiq again for a couple reasons.  First, there’s been all sorts of patent litigation involving Effexor XR, and it may go generic much sooner than expected. Second, I just stumbled across this perfect blog post titled “Top 5 Reasons to Forget about Pristiq” which I’ll summarize below:

1. It’s a blatant patent extender.
2. It’s not very effective.
3. It is not more easily dosed than Effexor XR.
4. It has no meaningful metabolic advantages.
5. Wyeth’s own lead investigator is unimpressed.