Celexa and Celebrex. Paxil and Plavix.
If you think they sound similar, just imagine the confusion they can cause doctors and pharmacists--and the potential danger they can pose to consumers. Celexa is an antidepressant; Celebrex is an anti-inflammatory. Paxil is an antidepressant; Plavix keeps blood platelets from sticking together.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations last week alerted nearly 19,000 hospitals, clinics and nursing homes to the potentially life-threatening consequences of mixing up similar-sounding brand and generic drug names.
Medication errors can occur at many points, such as during the writing of a prescription, or the dispensing of a drug. Not only may a doctor select the wrong name from a computerized drug list, but pharmacists often have trouble interpreting doctors' handwriting. Only adding to the confusion are similar drug packages and the tremendous number of new drugs flowing into the marketplace.