OBJECTIVE: With more antiepileptic drugs (AED) becoming available in generic form, we estimated the risk of seizure-related events associated with refilling generic AEDs and the effect of switching between different manufacturers of the same generic drug.
METHODS: We designed a population-based case-crossover study using the Medicaid Analytic eXtract and a US commercial health insurance database. We identified 83,001 generic AED users who experienced a seizure-related hospital admission or emergency room visit between 2000 and 2013 and assessed whether they received a refill of the same AED from the same manufacturer or a different manufacturer. Patients served as their own controls and conditional logistic regression was used to compare exposure to a refill during the hazard period, defined as days 2-36 preceding the seizure-related event, to exposure during the control period, defined as days 51-85 preceding the seizure-related event.
RESULTS: Generic AED refilling was associated with an 8% increase in the odds of seizure-related events (odds ratio [OR] 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-1.11). The OR following a switch to a different manufacturer of the same AED was 1.09 (95% CI 1.03-1.15); however, after adjusting for the process of refilling, there was no association between switching and seizure-related hospital visits (OR 1.00; 95% CI 0.94-1.07).
CONCLUSIONS: Among patients on a generic AED, refilling the same AED was associated with an elevated risk of seizure-related event; however, there was no additional risk from switching during that refill to a different manufacturer. Generic AEDs available to US patients, with Food and Drug Administration-validated bioequivalence, appear to be safe clinical choices.