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July 28, 2008

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Lifehack of the Month: Truly Generic Pills

If you’re like most people, you purchase Benadryl. A slightly smaller and savvier subset of you will always reach for the drugstore’s “generic” counterpart, e.g. Waldryl. Stop this madness, all of you.

As you might know, Benadryl (available at for $5.29 for a box of 24 capsules) and Wal-dryl ($3.99 / 24 capsules) are otherwise known as “25 mg. of diphenhydramine HCI.” Compare. Yes, that is 400 tablets containing 25 mg. of diphenhydramine HCI, for about $10 when you factor in shipping. Once more with feeling:

Benadryl - 22¢ / pill
Wal-dryl - 16¢ / pill
True generic - 2.5¢ / pill

As a fan of Unisom (34¢ / pill) and Claritin (66¢), the truly generic equivalents (Unisom:Claritin: 6¢) have been a revelation.

Before you buy any mildly expensive drug over-the-counter, plug its name into Amazon and see what pops up. Many of you may already know all about this, but surely I’ve delighted someone.

Posted July 28, 2008 at 5:00 | Comments (17) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany


I had always been amazed at the wonders of marketing and product packaging when comparing the prices of Tylenol's Simply Sleep versus Benadryl. I use a steady supply of diphenhydramine to combat my insomnia, but I never thought to look for a true generic equivalent. Thanks for the heads up, you're going to have saved me a decent amount of money over time!

Posted by: Nick on July 30, 2008 at 04:09 AM

You fail.
And *scene*

Posted by: lol on July 30, 2008 at 05:33 AM

HCl (as in Hydrochloric acid), not HCI.

Posted by: guest on July 30, 2008 at 06:07 AM

Kirkland = Costco Brand. It's no different than comparing a 16 oz bottle of ketchup vs. a gallon jug. Still good to know that you can get them on Amazon for those who don't have a Costco near.

Posted by: WhoCares on July 30, 2008 at 06:33 AM

I live alone and take maybe a dozen or so tylenols or motrin a year...what in the world would I do with 1000 (or even 100) pills?

Posted by: Fred on July 30, 2008 at 06:50 AM

This seems more like a cheap alternative for those who 'need' large quantities of cheep drugs as ingredients for other not-so-legal drugs. I'm with Fred, I wouldn't know what to do with such a large quantity of pills - unless I ran a hospital!

Posted by: Janis on July 30, 2008 at 07:16 AM

It's actually hydrochloride, not hydrochloric acid. If you're going to make a correction, do it right.

Posted by: Bill N. on July 30, 2008 at 08:18 AM

Thank you Janis, I was just about to point that out. Fred, I was having the same thought as I was reading the post.

Posted by: melissa on July 30, 2008 at 08:53 AM

I found this information very informative. These days of soaring prices we need all the help we can get. Thanks. I often wonder why comments on these type forums, for the most part, are always negative. I usually hesitate to even make a comment because of so many rude responses.

Posted by: Sue on July 30, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Bravo! Thanks for sharing the info.

Posted by: Stella on July 30, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Some people pointed out this is available at Costco- Member's Mark is also available at Sam's Club. The amazing savings of MM over all other options was first apparent to me with Zantac 75...where for $4 you could get DOUBLE what other stores offered for DOUBLE the price (yes, overall 4x more per pill, and that's store-brand stuff).

Posted by: Kypdurron5 on July 30, 2008 at 02:37 PM

I don't think it's that their "true generics". I think it's that the consumer for 400 pills is different than the consumer for 24, and has different price demands.

Posted by: Smackfu on July 30, 2008 at 02:55 PM

Just looked up generic Zyrtec...and just bought myself nearly a year's supply of the stuff (350 ct.) for less than I'd pay for a 45 ct. bottle of branded Zyrtec. Considering I take Zyrtec every day for my allergies, it's useful.

Posted by: eddy on July 30, 2008 at 04:27 PM


If you're going to try to make a correction, YOU might want to think about doing it right. HCl is hydrochloric acid. The bound salt form is known as hydrochloride. The free molecule of HCl is not the same as hydrochloride. And one more thing. If you're going to reference a source like Wikipedia, which I find rather ironic for your incorrect post, then learn how to read the post. And why did you even post that Janis, just to try to show someone up? This was a helpful post, thanks Snark.

Dan, I'm sure Janis is a nice person. Nothing better than two epic fails in a row since now you've attacked the wrong poster, too. It's not the free molecule, it's the salt, so yes it is in fact Hydrochloride.

Posted by: Bill N. on July 31, 2008 at 06:09 AM

This thread just won the award for most in-depth discussion of chemistry ever in the history of Snarkmarket!

Yes, it's hydrochloride, but I have to agree that the hydrochloride article was not very helpful to post. In case anyone actually cares about this, other than as a pissing contest, consider the difference between these two compounds:

Ironically, the structure shown in the Diphenhydramine article is apparently wrong, showing the typical dot notation instead of the correct salt.

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