Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Warn your patients!

From The Prescriber's Letter (link may require subscription:

The same brand names are used for different drugs in different countries.
A patient traveling in Serbia ran out of Dilacor XR (diltiazem). He got a refill and landed in the hospital with DIGOXIN toxicity. It turns out that Dilacor is a brand name for digoxin in Serbia.
Dilacor is also a brand name for verapamil in Brazil...and the calcium channel blocker, barnidipine, in Argentina.
Norpramin is omeprazole...not Spain.
Flomax is an analgesic...not Italy.
Vivelle is an oral contraceptive...not an estradiol patch... in Austria.
Cartia XT is extended-release diltiazem in the U.S. But Cartia contains aspirin in Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.
Some foreign names are very similar to ours. Ambien is zolpidem in the U.S...Amyben is amiodarone in the U.K. Prolixin is the antipsychotic, fluphenazine in the U.S...Prolixan is an NSAID in many parts of Europe.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices supplies us with this important information. Mix-ups are now a real danger as people travel more...and drugs cross borders more often.
It's especially important for people who return to their native country often...and are also treated there.
Tell patients who travel abroad to carry enough of their meds...and a list of their drugs by BOTH generic and brand name. Warn patients who are getting drugs abroad to beware.
If you don't, you should consider subscribing to the Prescriber's Letter. I learn something useful from every single issue.