Drug Name Similarities Deemed a Potential Health and Safety Hazard
(JusticeNewsFlash.com – Health Report) — New initiatives have been taken to alert consumers to the importance of ensuring that they’ve been provided the correct medications by doctors, pharmacists, and drug stores. A number of drugs for unrelated health problems share strikingly similar names. Mixing up drugs with similar names has become recognized as one of the most common medical mistakes that can lead to harmful or fatal consequences for patients.
An estimated 1,500 drugs have name similarities that have been attributed to mix-ups in the U.S. This is said to be the cause of some painkillers commonly being mistaken for antidepressants, allergy medicines being mistaken for antipsychotic drugs, and related incidents with other medications. It has been stated, that the highly regarded group U.S. Pharmacopoeia is taking the initiative to help reduce the occurrence of mix-ups by developing an online instrument that allows consumers and physicians to see if the drugs they use or prescribe have names similar in spelling or pronunciation to others. Another web resource for consumers aims to achieve the same goal by sending email alerts to users. The Food and Drug Administration is doing their part as well, with a new program in the works that holds manufacturers responsible for the confusion of drug names. The agency regularly rejects name proposals for drugs that are too close in pronunciation or spelling to others.
The escalating problem of drug name similarities may be due to the many drugs approved to enter the market every year. More than one million Americans are estimated to suffer annually as a result of medical mistakes largely linked to medication confusion. Errors of this kind are often blamed on the illegible writing on doctors’ prescriptions as well as the carelessness of those pharmacists who speed through the completion of their duties; however, a number of factors may contribute to the problem.
The new initiatives are expected to help make all of those involved pay closer attention to the drug distribution process. Patients should not hesitate to ask questions of their doctors or pharmacists to ensure that they are being provided the right medication, and are encouraged to be mindful of any changes in the look, size, or color, of their prescriptions.
Justice News Flash – News Report by West Palm Beach personal Injury lawyer