At this time, only one company is allowed to market generic losartan, due to the successful challenge of a drug patent. However, the exclusivity period is not permanent -- in fact, it lasts only 180 days. After the exclusivity period is over, it is likely that generic losartan will be available from many other manufacturers.
Losartan potassium (Cozaar®) is a prescription medication that has been licensed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetic nephropathy. Losartan is part of a class of drugs called angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs for short).
As the name of the drug class implies, losartan blocks angiotensin II receptors. This decreases the effectiveness of a chemical known as angiotensin II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow (constrict). By blocking the effects of angiotensin II, losartan causes blood vessels to relax, which can lower blood pressure.
Losartan was first sold under the brand name Cozaar, manufactured by Merck & Co. However, it is now available in generic form as well.
Generic losartan tablets are available in the following strengths:
- Losartan 25 mg
- Losartan 50 mg
- Losartan 100 mg.
Teva Pharmaceuticals was awarded with 180 days to exclusively market their generic version of losartan (without any competition) in exchange for successfully challenging a Cozaar patent. After that exclusivity period, which started in April 2010, generic losartan will be available from several other manufacturers as well.
Is Generic Losartan as Good as Cozaar?
All generic medications must undergo certain tests to compare them to brand-name medications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) then looks at these tests to decide if the generics are equivalent to the brand-name medications and assigns a rating to each one.
An "AB" rating means that the FDA has determined that a generic medication is equivalent to a brand-name medication. All of the generic losartan versions currently available have an "AB" rating, meaning they should be equivalent to Cozaar.
However, generic medications are allowed to have different inactive ingredients than the brand-name medication. This might include fillers, dyes, or other ingredients that may cause problems for people with allergies or sensitivities.