Look Alike Sound Alike Medications Pose Increased Risk for Maryland Medication Errors

Maryland medication errors occur all too frequently and can have dire consequences for patients. The most recent study conducted by the Institute of Medicine found in 2013 that medical errors caused between 210,000 to 440,000 deaths per year. Of course, an exact number is difficult to determine because medical records are not always complete, and providers can be reluctant to disclose mistakes. In 2014, one study found adverse drug events were one of the most common medical errors in the country.

Errors involving what are known as “look alike, sound alike” (LASA) medications involve medications that sound similar or look similar in appearance, packaging, or in the names of the medications. Such drugs pose a higher risk of medication errors. As one recent article found, “Depo-” medications are often the subject of medication errors. There are several medications on the market today that begin with the prefix “Depo-.” The prefix means that the medication is administered via a depot injection that deposits the drug into tissue. However, people have consistently mixed up different “Depo-” medications with one another. Some of the most common errors are: “Depo-Provera,” “Depo-Subq-provera 104,” and “Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection”; with “Depo-Medrol,” and with “Depo-Testosterone.”

For example, according to a recent news report, a physician mistakenly injected a patient with Depo-Provera instead of Depo-Medrol in 2015, after the medication had been inadvertently stored in a bin where Depo-Medrol was normally kept. In another case, a patient was injected with Depo-Medrol instead of Depo-Provera, which she was being given for contraception. The patient became pregnant as a result of the mistake. In that case, the staff person had mistakenly taken a vial of the drug where both drugs were stored next to each other.

To avoid mistakes involving LASA medications, some studies have recommended using Tall Man lettering (capitalizing parts of the drug name), barcoding, and color-coding. To avoid confusion between “Depo-” medications, the article recommends limiting access, using bar-code scanning, keeping vials separate, differentiating the product, and highlighting the route of administration, among other methods. The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has estimated that 20 percent of medication errors may be caused by packaging and labeling.

In the event of a medication error, the patient or the patient’s family may be able to file a claim against the medical professionals at fault for the mistake through a negligence claim, wrongful death claim, or another claim. Plaintiffs may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, physical and mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship, and more.

Contact a Maryland Medication Error Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured because of a Maryland medication error, you may be able to recover financial compensation. The Maryland injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, have decades of experience representing victims of prescription errors and other negligent conduct and know what it takes to build a successful case. They represent victims of medication errors and medical malpractice throughout the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. areas. Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen at 1-800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600 or fill out an online inquiry to set up a free consultation.

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