Drug Name Mix-Ups: FDA Issues a New Warning

September 1, 2015 Laura Hale Brockway

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new warning regarding potential confusion caused by the similar names of two drugs: Brintellix (vortioxetine), an antidepressant, and Brilinta (ticagrelor), a blood-thinning medication used to prevent death after heart attack or severe chest pain or to prevent a second heart attack.

According to Medscape, the FDA says it has received 50 reports since June about confusion around these brand names that has led to the wrong drug being prescribed or dispensed. The FDA is suggesting that doctors write out the indication for the drug and the generic name along with the brand name when prescribing either medication. Patients should also check their prescriptions to ensure they have the correct medication.

An article from TMLT’s the Reporter called “Drug name confusion” is also available for free download. The article describes how drugs are named; common look-alike and sound-alike (LASA) errors; and risk management considerations to help reduce errors.

About the Author

Laura Hale Brockway is the Assistant Vice President of Marketing at TMLT. She can be reached at laura-brockway@tmlt.org.

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