Knowing generic drug names for the medications you take is vital to your financial well-being as well as your safety. Not only can you save money using generic drugs, knowing their names will enable you to make sure you've been given the right prescription by your pharmacist. If you don't know the generic drug name of your medicine, you'll have no way of knowing if that little pill you're about to take is the right one for you.

About 10,000 of the 14,000 drugs currently approved by the FDA have generic versions available. "Generics provide the same medicine and the same results as their brand counterparts, but at a significantly lower cost," according to the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, so there should be no problem if you want to substitute a generic brand for your regular medicine. Generic drugs are also typically a lot cheaper than brand-name drugs, so it's always a good idea to ask your pharmacist if one is available for your particular medication.

How Generic Drug Names Work

When a patent on a brand-name medication expires, other companies are then legally able to produce their own versions of that drug. These copycat drugs are known as "generics." In most cases, a generic drug will simply go by its chemical name. For example, the brand-name drug Xanax is available in generic form as alprazolam.

Prescription labels will sometimes indicate the brand-name version of a generic drug, but not always. It's a good idea to ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about your generic drugs. To save up to 50 percent on generic and brand-name drugs at no cost to you, starting immediately, print off your own copy of the free PS Card from this website. It's active right away, and it's accepted at over 56,000 pharmacies across the United States.