Maxalt is the brand name for rizatriptan. That means that the brand was named by the first manufacturer of Maxalt which was Merck & Co. The branded version of Maxalt became available in 1998. Each branded prescription drug also has a generic name, which you will often see in parentheses following the brand name.
When the patent exclusivity for a brand name product expires, often times multiple generic manufacturers will seek approval from the FDA to manufacture and sell generic versions of the branded drug. When a drug like Maxalt becomes generic it is typical for the generic products to be priced much lower than the branded product. As such, most insurance plans will offer lower patient co-pays for generic drugs, like Maxalt, than they do for branded drugs.
Even though a prescription drug has a generic name, this does not always mean it is available in a generic form at the pharmacy. Often prescription medicines are referred to either by their brand name (only one manufacturer holds the exclusive right to make and market the product using the brand name) like Maxalt or by the generic name in this case, rizatriptan.
Are generic drugs the same as brand name drugs?
Generic drugs, (not including Maxalt which is only available as a branded product) are not exactly the same as the original branded drug, although they are very similar and are widely viewed to be as effective as their branded counterparts. To learn more about the difference between branded prescription medications and generics, visit the Generic versus brand name section of our drug basics section.