Devendra V. Sinai Paraz* and Padmanabh V. Rataboli


Background: Confusing drug names that look or sound alike commonly lead to medication errors. Hence, it is of utmost importance that healthcare professionals prescribe and instruct patients clearly and legibly. The list of confusing brand names to select from is humungous and the confusion parallels it. The confusion is rising with AYUSH medications also paving a path for themselves, and some generic names also sounding similar to some brands. Objective: The aim of this study was to identify and analyze the confusing brand names and depict the current scenario/cross section of Indian drug product market. Methodology: We conducted a survey of the commonly available brand names of drug products (from allopathy as well as AYUSH) referring to Pharmacy data, Indian Drug Review, FDA and ISMP list of confused drug names. The study included analysis and categorization of Look-alike Sound-alike (LASA) drugs into subgroups based on the generic name, manufacturer, and dosage forms. New categories were added to the previously existing groups of confusing LASA drugs. Observations/Results: Newer and currently available confusing drugs have been identified in the existing 12 categories. 7 new and unique categories have been added to the existing list. Conclusion: With thousands of drug products in the market, the potential of medication error due to confusing drug names is considerable. Algorithm by Rataboli et al can be used before allowing drug products to enter the market. Also, using strategies provided by WHO, guidelines for handling LASA drugs, Tall Man Lettering and modern technologies, we can minimize medication errors related to drugs with confusing brand names.

Keywords: Identical; Sound-alike; Look-alike; Confusing; Generic names; Brand names.

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