ISMP analysis suggests overall decrease in reporting drug name confusion; increase in generic drug name confusion

Reports of generic drug names being confused have climbed in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue as the number of these medications increases, according to a retrospective analysis from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

Reports of generic drug names being confused have climbed in recent years, a trend that is expected to continue as the number of these medications increases, according to a retrospective analysis from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). Researchers examined name-related medication errors submitted to ISMP between 2000–04 and 2012–16. ISMP found that reporting of drug name confusion overall has declined over time: there were 816 reports of drug name confusion in the 2000–04 period vs. 603 reports in 2012–16. However, reports of confusion involving two nonproprietary drug names (generic-generic) increased from 27% of total reports in the earlier period to 61% in the later period. Meanwhile, reports of confusion involving two proprietary drug names (brand-brand) fell from 62% to 30%. That shift could be attributed in part to the rise of FDA and manufacturer testing of brand names prior to approval. ISMP recommends that FDA, USP, and the United States Adopted Names Council partner with industry leaders to develop a standard evaluation method for nonproprietary names to be used before generic name assignment.