At this time, generic Menostar is unavailable, despite the fact that the first patent for the brand-name version has expired. Until an approved version is available, you should not buy any so-called "generic Menostar" products, as these medications could be fake and possibly dangerous.
Generic Menostar: An Overview
Menostar® (estradiol patch) is a prescription estrogen hormone replacement medication. It is approved for preventing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. It is not approved to treat menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes or vaginal dryness. Menostar contains a very low dose of estrogen.
Menostar is made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. It is currently under the protection of a patent that prevents any generic Menostar from being manufactured in the United States. Yet, if you search the Internet for "generic Menostar," you may find a number of companies selling it. The fact is that these medicines may be fake, substandard, and potentially dangerous. Generic Menostar may be available from another country, but there is really no way of knowing whether you are getting genuine Menostar. You should not buy any generic Menostar until there is an approved generic version available.
When Will Generic Menostar Be Available?
The first patent for Menostar expired in June 2010. It is unclear why generic versions are not yet available. Perhaps the other listed patents (which expire in November 2017) provide protection against generic competition. At this time, it is difficult to predict precisely when a generic version of Menostar may become available.
Is Estradiol the Same as Generic Menostar?
No -- estradiol is the active ingredient in Menostar (as well as numerous other medications), but is not a generic version of it. What can be confusing is that, oftentimes, the active ingredient of any drug is referred to as the "generic name." The generic name is different from a generic version of a medicine. In order for there to be a generic version of a medicine, the original medicine must have gone off-patent and another company besides the original manufacturer must make the product.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed August 26, 2010.
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