A study has found that the differences in the color of brand name vs. generic drugs may cause many patients to stop taking their pills, posing serious potential complications for epileptics.

Patients often favor switching to cheaper generic drugs (upwards of 70 percent of prescriptions now are filled generically). But these generic pills are often different shapes and colors than their brand name counterparts. During this study, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that patients who are taking anti-epileptic drugs like Topamax were more than 50 percent more likely to stop taking the drugs the way that their doctors prescribed them to when they were given pills that differed in size, shape or color to the pills they were taking to begin with.

Researchers found this information out when they saw that the data they gathered showed that it took longer for patients to have their prescriptions refilled. This study was published online in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

This behavior could be very dangerous for epileptics because when they stop taking anti-epileptic drugs, they expose themselves to the potential of suffering a life-threatening seizure.

“Pill appearance has long been suspected to be linked to medication adherence, yet this is the first empirical analysis that we know of that directly links pills’ physical characteristics to patients’ adherence behavior,” study principal investigator Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics, said in the news release.

“Patients should be aware that their pills may change color and shape, but that even differently appearing generic drugs are approved by the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as being bioequivalent to their brand-name counterparts and are safe to take,” Kesselheim said. “Physicians should be aware that changes in pill appearance might explain their patients’ non-adherence. Finally, pharmacists should make a point to tell patients about the change in color and shape when they change generic suppliers.”

Epilepsy is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is often treated with prescription drugs like Topamax, which is used to prevent seizures. However, the pills have been linked to serious side effects, which include PPHN, oral clefts, spina bifida and neural tube defects.

If your baby has suffered from birth defects after being exposed to Topamax in-utero, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Topamax lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your child’s injury.