Confusing Drug Names May Lead to More Prescription Drug Errors

Prescription drug injuries are becoming more and more common as pharmacies try to meet the increasing demands of their customers without hiring additional staff members. While there are several potential causes for a pharmacy misfill, one recent article points out that the similarity of different drug names may play a role in the confusion, increasing the chances of an error.

Confusion Can Lead to Serious Injury or Even Death

Although some medication errors can cause little or no harm to the patient taking the drug, others can cause permanent or serious injury or even death. Suppose that the prescription is for a life-threatening condition that, if the patient does not get his or her medication, he or she could die. If a pharmacist fills that patient’s prescription with the wrong drug—even if the improperly prescribed drug was harmless—the patient may suffer serious injury or death.

Dosage confusion is also an area that can result in serious injury. If a doctor improperly prescribes a larger-than-needed dose, and the patient takes the prescribed dose, he or she may be at risk of an overdose. The same is true for an under-dose.

The crux of the article, however, is about how the names of prescription drugs are so similar that even a well-intentioned doctor or pharmacist may make a mistake when prescribing or filling a medication. Of course, the duty to prescribe and fill the proper drug is of utmost importance.

The article gives the case of two similarly named medications that have nothing to do with each other and treat vastly different disorders: Lamictal which is used for treating seizures, and Lamisil, which is used to treat fungal infections. On top of a similar name, these medications also have the same dosage and tablet form, enhancing any possible confusion.

One doctor noted that some drugs used to treat a single condition all begin with the same letters, which can lead to confusion when doctors are reviewing medical histories. It can also be difficult for patients to recall which drug they took, given that all the names sound similar to an untrained ear.

Currently, the FDA is looking into the issue of similar drug names and is taking the issue under advisement. Hopefully, in the near future, patients can look forward to a safer, more reliable health care system.

Have You Been Injured By a Pharmaceutical Drug?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured after taking a pharmaceutical drug that was not prescribed to you but was provided to you by your pharmacist, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, has years of experience bringing pharmacy error cases to trial and knows how to deal with the complex intricacies of this area of the law. To learn more about how pharmacy error victims can recover, and to speak to a dedicated pharmacy error attorney about your case, click here, or call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Parents Have a Hard Time When Dosing Children’s Medication Because of Metric-System Conversion, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, July 30, 2014.

Prescription Error Causes Man to Permanently Lose His Sight, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, July 16, 2014.

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