Think twice before accepting free samples of drugs like Adderall XR, Concerta and Strattera, Consumer Reports is warning.

Why? Accepting free samples of the drugs is likely to get patients hooked on name brand versions even though equally effective generics exist. Plus, the consumer watchdog group says the free samples often come without the safety information insert that details side effects and other warnings.

“Parents want to do what is best for their children,” says Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. “But free samples and clever advertising convince them they should be shelling out thousands of dollars a year for brand name prescription drugs when equally effective generics are available.”

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Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed to treat behavior disorders and drug samples are frequently given. But Consumer Reports estimates that patients can save as much as $3,000 a year if they switch to generics like dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate.

A 2008 study in the journal Pediatrics indicated that roughly 1 out of 10 kids taking medication received a free drug sample.