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Drug names that look and sound alike

WATCH OUT FOR THESE DRUGS!

Their names can be easily confused, particularly if you are in a hurry and the prescription is badly written.

No drug name is without problems. Any name can be written or spoken poorly enough so that it can be mistaken for another.

Getting it wrong could mean that your patient's do not receive the treatment they need, and even that they develop problems that they did not have before! 

A compensation claim and disciplinary action could follow...

The potential for errors can be reduced by:

  •        Legible handwriting 
  •        Clear oral communications 
  •        Writing complete drug orders 
  •        Use generic names; do not abbreviate drug names
  •        Specifying the route of administration
  •        Specifying the drug strength, e.g. 100mg
  •        Never abbreviate unit as "U": Spell out "unit"
  •        Never use a trailing zero: 1mg, not 1.0mg
  •        Never leave a decimal point "naked": Use 0.25mg or 250microgram, not .25mg
  •        Specifying directions for when required medicines, include frequency, total daily dose and indication for use


Listed below are some drug names that can look and/or sound alike. Some are dangerously close, whereas others require incomplete prescribing information, poor communication skills, poor listening, and/or a lack of knowledge about the drugs for an error to result.

Aminophylline

Amitriptyline

Amoxicillin

Ampicillin

Amiloride

Amlodipine

Amiloride

Amiodarone

Amitriptyline

Nortriptyline

Anafranil

Enalapril

Atenolol

Timolol

Azithromycin

Erythromycin

Baclofen

Bactroban®

Beclometasone

Betamethasone

Beconase®

Becotide®

Betnovate®

Dermovate®

Bisacodyl

Bisoprolol

Carbamazepine

Carbimazole

Carbimazole

Chlorpromazine

Carboplatin®

Cisplatin®

Cefotaxime

Cefuroxime

Chlorpromazine

Chlorpropamide

Ciclosporin

Cycloserine

Clobazam

Clonazepam

Clomiphene

Clomipramine

Clomiphene

Clonidine

Clotrimazole

Co- trimoxazole

Clonazepam

Lorazepam

Clonidine

Clomiphene

Co-codamol

Co- proxamol

Co-dydramol

Co- proxamol

Cortisone

Cordarone®

Dacarbazine

Procarbazine

Daunorubicin

Doxorubicin

DepoMedrone

DepoProvera

Dermovate

Betnovate

Digoxin

Doxepin

Dipryridamole

Disopyramide

Domperidone

Droperidol

Dopamine

Dobutamine

Dothiepin

Doxepin

Enflurane

Isoflurane

Ergometrine

Ergotamine

Etidronate

Etretinate

Epinephrine(Adrenaline)

Ephedrine

Etidronate

Etomidate

Fenoprofen

Flurbiprofen

Fentanyl

Alfentanyl

Fluoxetine

Fluvoxamine

FolicAcid

FolinicAcid

Gliclazide

Glipizide

Humalog®

Humulin®

Hydroxyurea

Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine

Hydralazine

Idarubicin®

Doxorubicin

Imipramine

Trimipramine

IsosorbideDinitrate

IsosorbideMononitrate

Ketoprofen

Ketotifen

Lamivudine

Lamotrigine

Levothyroxine

Liothyronine

Lisinopril

Fosinopril

Lofepramine

Loperamide

Maxidex

Maxitrol

Mebendazole

Metronidazole

Metformin

Methyldopa

Methylprednisolone

Medroxyprogesterone

Metolazone

Metoprolol

Migraleve

Migril

Motilium

Motival

Motipress

Motival

Nicotinamide

NicotinicAcid

Nifedipine

Nicardipine

Nifedipine

Nimodipine

Nortriptyline

Amitriptyline

Olsalazine

Olanzapine

Penicillamine

Penicillin

Prednisolone

Prenisone

Priadel

Parlodel

Prochlorperazine

Penicillamine

Promazine

Promethazine

Quinidine

Quinine

Rifadin

Rifinah

Sandocal

Sando-K

Selegiline

Stelazine

Senokot

Seroxat

Sinemet

Cimetidine

Sinemet

Sinequan

Tamoxifen

Temazepam

Tamoxifen

Tenoxicam

Temazepam

Temgesic

Tramadol

Trazodone

Trimeprazine

Trimipramine

Triptafen

Tryptophan

Vermox

Volmax

Vinblastine

Vincristine