Doctors, pharmacists warned not to confuse drugs with similar names

We have mentioned in other posts on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog that medication errors made by pharmacists and doctors are not uncommon, especially when so many drug names look and sound alike.

Patients in Illinois and throughout the entire country can certainly take precautions to avoid suffering further health complications from a medication error by making sure that they are aware of the potential side effects of a drug and that they are given the correct medication they were prescribed to take. But it is really the responsibility of doctors and pharmacists to ensure that patients are prescribed the right drugs to treat their symptoms and that patients leave the pharmacy with the drugs they were prescribed to take.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to all pharmacists and health care professionals not to confuse two very similar sounding medications called Durezol and Durasal. The administration reported that at least one mix-up with the medications has already caused a patient to suffer serious injuries from the mistake.

Although the FDA screens drug names during the approval process in order to prevent medications from hitting the market with similar looking and sounding names that could cause confusion, the administration reported that Durasal never needed to be approved by the FDA. And although the names of the drugs certainly sound the same, the medications have two very different purposes. Durezol, which was approved by the FDA, is a type of eye drop. Durasal contains salicylic acid and is used to treat warts.

The FDA issued a warning about the confusion between the two medications to doctors and pharmacists last month, but the agency has also contacted the Illinois-based distributor of Durasal to request that the medication be removed from the market in order to prevent other patients from suffering injuries as a result of possible mix-ups.

Source: ABC News, “You Say ‘Durezol,’ I Say ‘Durasal,’ – FDA Warns of Drug Mix-Ups,” Dan Childs, Dec. 29, 2011

Medication Errors


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