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Law and ethics bulletin (29 November 2008)

Handling medicinal products with similar names 

Handling medicinal products with similar names

Following a recent case considered by the Society’s Investigating Committee, pharmacists are advised of the need to be particularly vigilant when dispensing medicines which have similar names to each other, especially those with the same strengths too.

When orders from suppliers are unpacked, extra care should be taken to ensure that such medicines are placed on the correct dispensary shelf to minimise the risk of picking the wrong product for dispensing.

Consideration should be given to separating medicines on the dispensary shelf that have similar names to reduce the risk of dispensing errors.

Referring to the near miss log may also assist in identifying those medicines that more likely to be picked erroneously.

Examples of medicines with similar names include:

  • amiodarone/amiloride
  • clotrimazole/co-trimoxazole
  • fluoxetine/fluvoxamine
  • gliclazide/glipizide
  • hydroxyzine/hydralazine
  • mercaptopurine/mercaptamine
  • procyclidine/prochlorperazine
  • risedronate/risperidone
  • tramadol/trazadone

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10040393

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