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USP announces new tool to help prevent medication mix-ups due to look alike/sound alike drug names
Date:8/25/2008

Rockville, Md., August 25, 2008 The U.S. Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention today announces a new drug safety tool designed to help patients, caregivers, pharmacists, physicians and others in avoiding medication errors that may occur because of drug names that look alike and/or sound alike. This "Drug Error Finder" is a searchable database of almost 1,500 commonly used drugs reported to be involved in medication mix-ups in the U.S. health care system since 2003. The database is publicly available at no cost on USP's Web site at www.usp.org/hqi/similarProducts/drugErrorFinderTool.html.

The Drug Error Finder is derived from a list of 1,470 unique drugs that were implicated in medication errors due to brand and/or generic drug names that look or sound alike and reported to USP's MEDMARXan anonymous database used by hospitals and health care systems across the United States to report, track and analyze medication errorsor to USP's Medication Errors Reporting Program. The list was included in USP's 8th annual MEDMARX Data Report, released in January 2008, which examined more than 26,000 error records related to similar drug names submitted to the database from 2003 to 2006. This is the largest known list of look alike, sound alike drug names in the world based on actual medication error reports.

"As more medications are approved for market each year and become available to Americans, the opportunity for potentially dangerous or even deadly errors due to drug mix-ups from look alike or sound alike names becomes increasingly high," said Diane Cousins, R.Ph., USP vice president of healthcare quality and information. "While one drug name may be nearly identical to that of another drug, the two could be used for completely different conditions. This presents a major public health threat, and we think this new tool can play an important role in helping to reduce patient risk assoc
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Contact: Sandra Kim
sek@usp.org
301-816-8241
US Pharmacopeia
Source:Eurekalert

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