Pam Stockton
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    Similar labeling, similar names and undertrained technicians, say critics, can lead to medically dangerous mix-ups when prescriptions are filled at pharmacies. ABC News viewer Pam Stockton of Canton, North Carolina says she was given the wrong drug for her foster daughter by a chain pharmacy. Stockton says the pharmacy filled the prescription with the pain medication Tramadol instead of the proper prescription, Trazadone, an anti-depressant and sleep aid. Repeated attempts to get comment from a spokesperson at the chain's headquarters were unsuccessful.
    Pam Stockton
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    The drug Hydralazine, on the left, is used to treat high blood pressure, while Hydroxyzine is used to treat itching or allergies. Taking blood pressure medicine unnecessarily could cause someone to faint, whereas taking an allergy medicine instead of Hydralazine would leave high blood pressure untreated and could lead to stroke.
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    Gabapentin, also known by the brand name Neurontin, is used for seizures and nerve pain. Gemfibrozil, also known by the brand name Lopil, is used to control cholesterol. A patient who needs to control seizures and takes cholesterol medicine instead runs the risk of seizure and bodily harm.
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    Distinctive lettering can be used by manufacturers to make it harder to confuse two drugs with similar names. Lamisil, on the left, is used to treat fungal infections. Lamictal, on the right, is prescribed for mood disorders. If one has a fungus infection but takes Lamictal, one risks experiencing the side effects of anti-depressants, which range from dizziness to kidney and/or liver damage. Taking Lamisil instead of Lamictal risks leaving a mood disorder untreated.
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    Sertraline, widely known under the brand name Zoloft, is prescribed for depression. Simvastin, widely known under the popular brand name Zocor, is used to control cholesterol. Sertraline, widely recognized under brand name Zoloft, is used to treat depression. Here the brand names, the generic names, and the packaging are similar.
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    Ampicillin and Amoxicillin are both antibiotics, but are used to treat different infections. Some patients who are allergic to certain antibiotics may break out in a rash or go into respiratory shock if given the wrong antibiotic.
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    Ciprofloxacin and Clarithromycin are both antibiotics, but can be used to treat different infections.
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Look-Alike Drugs

    Abbreviations can also cause mix-ups. The abbreviation "PTU," as seen on this handwritten prescription, is used for both purinethol, a leukemia drug, and propylthiouracil, a drug used to treat hyperthyroidism. The duplication has been the source of a number of serious medication errors, according to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, a non-profit advocacy group that monitors medical errors. In 2008, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices received a report of a pregnant woman who was mistakenly dispensed purinethol instead of propylthiouracil. After taking the wrong drug for weeks, the woman eventually lost her baby and died.
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • After reports of dispensing errors involving these two drugs with similar-sounding names, the Food and Drug Administration worked with pharmaceutical manufacturers to change the name of Kapidex.

    After reports of dispensing errors involving these two drugs with similar-sounding names, the Food and Drug Administration worked with pharmaceutical manufacturers to change the name of Kapidex. Kapidex is used in the treatment of acid reflux, while Casodex is prescribed for prostate cancer patients. The manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, announced on March 4, 2010, that Kapidex would be renamed Dexilant to avoid future confusion with Casodex.
    ABC News
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PHOTO: Left, Sabrina Allen, 4, is shown in this photo provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; right, Sabrina Allen, 17, is seen in this undated handout photo.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children|Courtesy of PI Phillip Klein
Kelly Ripa
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library
PHOTO: Earths moon is pictured as observed in visible light, left, topography, center, and the GRAIL gravity gradients, right.
NASA/GSFC/JPL/Colorado School of Mines/MIT