Associated Press

The cost of prescription medicines used by millions of people every day is about to plummet. The next 14 months will bring generic versions of seven of the world's 20 best-selling drugs, including the top two: cholesterol fighter Lipitor and blood thinner Plavix. Between now and 2016, blockbusters with about $255 billion in global annual sales will go off patent. Generic competition will decimate sales of the brand-name drugs and slash the cost to patients and companies that provide health benefits. Generic versions of big-selling drugs for blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, depression, high triglycerides, HIV and bipolar disorder will be available in the coming few years. Drug prices to plummet as patents expire Brand-name and generic drug price comparisons Brand-name drugs going off patent through 2020

Zyprexa | olanzapine | Oct. 2011
Associated Press

This medication is used to treat certain mental/mood conditions (such as schizophrenia, bipolar mania). It may also be used in combination with other medication to treat depression. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters).

Lipitor | atorvastatin | Nov. 2011
Associated Press

Atorvastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins." It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Lexapro | escitalopram | March 2012
Associated Press

Escitalopram is an antidepressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor-SSRI) used to treat depression and anxiety. It works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters such as serotonin) in the brain. Escitalopram may improve your feelings of well-being and energy level and decrease nervousness.

Seroquel | quetiapine | March 2012
Associated Press

This medication is used to treat certain mental/mood conditions (including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia). Quetiapine is known as an anti-psychotic drug (atypical type). It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain.

Avapro/Avalide | irbesartan | March 2012
Associated Press

Irbesartan is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and to help protect the kidneys from damage due to diabetes. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Irbesartan belongs to a class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily.

Provigil | modafinil | April 2012
Associated Press

Modafinil decreases extreme sleepiness due to narcolepsy and other sleep disorders such as difficult/irregular breathing during sleep (e.g., obstructive sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome-OSAHS). It is also used to help you stay awake during work hours for people with work schedules that interfere with a normal sleep routine (shift work sleep disorder-SWSD).

Plavix | clopidogrel | May 2012
Associated Press

Clopidogrel is an oral, thienopyridine class antiplatelet agent used to inhibit blood clots in coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and cerebrovascular disease. The drug works by irreversibly inhibiting a receptor called P2Y12, an adenosine diphosphate ADP chemoreceptor. Adverse effects include hemorrhage, severe neutropenia and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).

Tricor | fenofibrate | July 2012
Associated Press

Fenofibrate is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "fibrates." It works by increasing the natural substance (enzyme) that breaks down fats in the blood. Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks. Lowering triglycerides in people with very high triglyceride blood levels may also decrease the risk of pancreas disease (pancreatitis).

Singulair | montelukast | Aug. 2012
Associated Press

Montelukast is used regularly to prevent the wheezing and shortness of breath caused by asthma and decrease the number of asthma attacks. Montelukast is also used before exercise to prevent breathing problems during exercise (bronchospasm). This medication can help decrease the number of times you need to use your rescue inhaler. This medication is also used to relieve symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis (such as sneezing, stuffy/runny/itchy nose).

Actos | pioglitazone | Aug. 2012

Pioglitazone is an anti-diabetic drug (thiazolidinedione-type, also called "glitazones") used along with a proper diet and exercise program to control high blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent diabetes). It works by helping to restore your body's proper response to insulin, thereby lowering your blood sugar.

Cymbalta | duloxetine | Dec. 2013
Associated Press

Duloxetine is used to treat depression and anxiety. In addition, duloxetine is used to help relieve nerve pain (peripheral neuropathy) in people with diabetes or ongoing pain due to medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic back pain, or fibromyalgia (a condition that causes widespread pain).

Nexium | esomeprazole | May 2014

Esomeprazole is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems (such as acid reflux, ulcers). It works by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach makes. It relieves symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing and persistent cough. This medication helps heal acid damage to the stomach and esophagus, helps prevent ulcers and may help prevent cancer of the esophagus. Esomeprazole belongs to a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

Celebrex | celecoxib | May 2014
Associated Press

This medication is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), specifically a COX-2 inhibitor, which relieves pain and swelling (inflammation). It is used to treat arthritis, acute pain and menstrual pain and discomfort. This drug works by blocking the enzyme in your body that makes prostaglandins. Decreasing prostaglandins helps to reduce pain and swelling.

Abilify | aripiprazole | April 2015

Aripiprazole is used to treat certain mental/mood disorders (such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia). It may also be used in combination with other medication to treat depression. Aripiprazole is known as an antipsychotic drug (atypical type). It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters).

Crestor | rosuvastatin calcium | July 2016

Rosuvastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins." It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides and raising "good" cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps to prevent strokes and heart attacks.