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Drug Name Confusion Makes Imports Dangerous: FDA

ted drug, but different ingredients.

The concern about confusing brand names is two-fold, she explained. First, patients traveling abroad could get the wrong medication while trying to fill a prescription. Second, patients ordering medications from abroad may be sent the wrong drug. Both of these scenarios can have serious consequences, Bernstein said.

FDA quoted a case reported in January 2005 by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices to highlight the problem. A patient traveling in Serbia ran out of his prescription for Dilacor XR (diltiazem extended release), which is used to treat high blood pressure. A Serbian pharmacist filled the prescription with digoxin, because in Serbia, Dilacor is a brand name for digoxin. Digoxin is used to treat heart failure as well as abnormal heart rhythms. The patient continued taking the medication without realizing it was digoxin and not diltiazem, and was hospitalized with life-threatening drug toxicity after his return to the U.S. the institute reported.
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