FDA Warns of Prescribing and Dispensing Errors with Brilinta and Brintellix

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in an advisory that, as of June 2015, it had received 50 reports of medication errors involving the antiplatelet, anti-blood clotting medication Brilinta (ticagrelor) and the anti-depressant Brintellix (vortixetine), involving cases where physicians prescribed the wrong drug or pharmacies dispensed the wrong drug.

Most of the cases reported concerns that similarities in the sound, look, or both of the two brand names could cause confusion for prescribers and pharmacists.

Brintellix is a tear-shaped tablet stamped “TL” on one side and a number that indicates the tablet’s strength on the other. It varies in color depending upon the strength prescribed. Brilinta is a round, yellow tablet with a “90” above a “T” stamped on one side.

The FDA said that health care professionals can reduce the risk of name confusion by including the generic (established) name of the medication, in addition to the brand name, and the indication for use when prescribing these medications. It also said that patients should check their prescriptions to ensure the correct medication was dispensed.

“None of the reports indicates that a patient ingested the wrong medication,” said the FDA in its advisory. “However, reports of prescribing and dispensing errors continue. As a result, we are alerting the public about this safety issue.”

“We urge patients and health care professionals to report name confusion and medication errors involving Brintellix and Brilinta to the FDA MedWatch program,” it said.

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