Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Drug name confusion risks lives

Note at the end of this article a few common name errors are mentioned. I didn't notice anything regarding one of the most concerning ones -- Losec and Lasix. Both are often given as 20mg once daily. In the U.S. the drug company changed the name to Prilosec to prevent any confusion. Has anyone ever investigated why they didn't bother to change the name in Canada? It's rather old news at this point, but it's a question I've never heard answered.

From the National Post:
As Bill Emrich left a Red Deer, Alta., hospital in 2004, emergency-room staff thought they had given him a dose of morphine to deaden the pain of a riding accident.

In fact, a nurse had mistakenly administered hydromorphone, a similarly named narcotic that is seven times more potent. Less than an hour later, the 69-year-old was back in emergency, this time with doctors furiously trying to revive his stalled heart. "All resuscitation attempts failed," a report on the case said later, "and the patient expired." ...more

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