Sunday, July 17, 2005

Generic & Trade Name

I was on call in ICU that day... During my ICU night round, I ordered T Alprazolam 0.5 mg ON for one of my patients. Half way doing round, I got a SOS call from the cardio MO, asking for help cos of failed intubation, whom I attended to stat. (In fact, got called 3 times that day/night to help out for failed intubation.. Two of thoses cases, well, actually not difficult intubation, but the junior MO unable to intubate, just that the last one from NeuroSurgery was indeed difficult intubation, with Cormack & Lehane grade 3 laryngoscopy.)! By the time I reached back ICU, the night shift nurses took over already. The nurse who was in charge of the patient whom I prescribed T Alprazolam told me that T Alprazolam was not available & she can't indent the medicine because pharmacy was closed.

Me : Are u sure we don't have tab alprazolam?
Nurse : No, we don't.
Me : I thought we have tab alprazolam in our DDA cupboard? Alprazolam is one of the commonly used DDA drugs
Nurse : No, we don't have alprazolam in our DDA cupboard.
Me : Then, what are the sedative drugs we have in the DDA cupboard at the moment?
Nurse : We have Xanax, valium, lorazepam etc..
Me : Hah? Aiyoh... Xanax is Alprazolam lah... Alprazolam is the generic name for Xanax!!

Well, some of the nurses (including doctors as well) are not familiar or get confused with the name of the drugs cos most prescription drugs have different generic (official) names & trade names (also called (brand, or specialty names). And some drugs even have few trade names - different names for different manufacturers.. Confusing for those who are not familiar with the drugs. Most of the staffs here are familiar with the trade name Xanax but not the generic name, Alprazolam. (Although both are the same thing). Well, generic names are usually more complicated & harder to remember compared to trade names. Personally, I still prefer to use generic names than trade names.

Some of the commonly used sedative drugs/medicine from the benzodiazepine group;

Trade Name (vs) Generic Name
Dormicum; Midazolam
Valium; Diazepam
Xanax; Alprazolam
Ativan; Lorazepam

Another more important group of drugs is antibiotics. It is indeed hazardous if the wrong antibiotics is served or administered especially if the staff is not familiar with both the generic & trade name..

15% of all reported medication errors between 1995 & 2000 worldwide arise from some kind of name confusion.

24 comments:

Darren said...

The drugs name are so familiar. :P

I tot it will be easier if we use generic name? Cuz diff company got diff trade name, rite?

Chen said...

yeap.. it is recommended to use generic name, as u mentioned, different company have different trade names for the same drug, eg.. for metformin, the same drug has multiple trade names like glucophage, riomet, fortamet etc..

However,most people still like to use trade name cos it's easier & the name is shorter..

IceyBlueBlue said...

wah...

apa tu??

*blur blur.....

cheat said...

cheated with confusing names... ekeke

truth said...

*flipping through dictionary over and over again....

sian said...

I am having cultural shock since coming back to Malaysia. I find doctors here like to use trade names, whereas in UK, we are only allowed to use generic names. The Phamarcy will dispense according to availability and relabel the drug with generic names. So now I always have to ask back what the generic names if they tell me of trade names...

hornbill said...

Only know PCM = Panadol.

Chen said...

icey,
this is just the tip of the iceberg *wink*

evol,
u won't find the answers in the normal dictionary, unless u look up in medical dictionary :P

sian,
yeap, most doctors here like to use trade names instead of generic names (in my opinion, it's more advisable or better to use generic names..). Especially when dealing with antibiotics (and other drugs as well); most people will still happily use the term Flagyl insted of Metronidazole, Ciprobay instead of Ciprofloxacin, Zinacef instead of Cefuroxime, Rocephine instead of Ceftriazone, Cefobid instead of Cefoperazone etc etc...

Grace,
hahaha.. u know, I come across few patients who called PCM as KK :D Cos of the printed KK behind the PCM medicine (KK = kementerian kesihatan);

Darren said...

Hmmm, in my opinion it's better to use generic name as the trade name is diff with diff manufacturers. Generic name will not be confusing at all. Heh, kinda interested to study pharmaco now :P

Chen said...

Darren,
I recalled one case that happened quite some time ago; the patient was ordered verbally to be given iv esmolol (short acting beta blocker for rapid control of ventricular rate), but she was mistakenly given iv esmeron instead(or rocuronium, aminosteroid non depolarising muscle relaxant with cardiovascular stability properties) instead..

luckily the mistake was found out fast :P
Nothing sinister happenend...

doc notti said...

**pening** ugh...lemme revise my chem stuff

Darren said...

Haha, this 1 ar, u can't find it in chem book la =)

Chen said...

d notti,
u can find all these stuffs in pharmacology book :)

darren,
woh.. now u r interested in pharmaco already? :)

Darren said...

Yep, lol :D

Chen said...

Darren,
want to become sales rep or sales executive or product specialist for drug company ah?

hornbill said...

Chen... i used to say PCM but peoples around me didnt understand. PCM is one type of pain killer it is?

Chen said...

Grace,
PCM = paracetamol, the generic name for panadol.
PCM is an effective analgesic (pain killer or to relieve pain) & antipyretic (relieve fever or to lower body temperature).
It's a safe drug if not provided don't over-dosed;

Darren said...

Haha, product specialist will be just nice :)

Chen said...

darren,
have to wait till u graduate loh :) Hope your dream can come true :D

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