1. Health

Therapeutic Equivalents


Updated August 28, 2008

Definition: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers two medications to be therapeutic equivalents if:
  1. they contain the same active ingredient(s)
  2. they have the same dosage form (e.g., they are both tablets)
  3. they have the same route of administration (e.g. they are both taken by mouth)
  4. they are identical in strength

Therapeutically equivalent medications may differ in shape, look (markings on the tablets or capsules), and inactive ingredients (such as color, flavor, and preservatives).

Medications classified as therapeutic equivalents can be substituted for each other with the full expectation that both medications will produce the same effect and have the same level of safety.

Also Known As: pharmaceutical equivalents

A 10 mg. tablet of Zocor (used to treat high cholesterol) is therapeutically equivalent to a 10 mg. tablet of simvastatin.

A 50 mg. tablet of Zoloft (used to treat depression) is therapeutically equivalent to a 50 mg. tablet of sertraline.

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