Similar Names In Drugs May Lead To Deadly Mistakes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/17/08

Similar Names In Drugs May Lead To Deadly Mistakes

When you pick up your prescription do you check to make sure it is the same drug that you were prescribed? US Pharmacopeia, the organization that sets national standards for drugs. The organization looked at 10% of the nation's hospitals and found 26,000 cases of confusion over a 4 year period, with 1.4% of those cases involving patients being harmed, some fatally.

One reason for the confusion is that so many drug names sound alike.  For example, Hydrocortone is the generic name for Hydrocortisone, a steroid used to treat inflammation and allergic irritations. That sounds similar to hydrocodone, a habit forming pain killer.  

The bottom line is that you, the consumer, can do your part when it comes to checking for prescription errors. Jennifer Klein, a Nurse Practitioner, says, "People should know what they're taking, what it looks like. As a nurse practitioner, I ask people what they're on and they don't know, 'a blue one, a pink one and a white one' and they don't know."

The report from US Pharmacopeia also found that there are 3100 drugs with confusing names, including some of the top 10 drugs sold in the U.S.
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