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updated 5/28/2010 6:44:12 PM ET 2010-05-28T22:44:12

This morning, we reported on the dangers of look-alike, sound-alike drugs — a serious problem that can lead to injuries or, in some cases, deaths. You wrote in with your own stories of the trouble with drug names that sound too similar; here are some of the best submissions.

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When my son was four months old, he was prescribed a low dosage of the antihistamine Zyrtec for his severe allergies. When my husband picked up the prescription from our local chain pharmacy, he asked for a consultation because he was concerned about using the drug on an infant.  The pharmacist who gave the consultation said the drug was a heartburn medication and proceeded to provide instructions for the use of Zantac. My husband told the pharmacist that he was mistaken, and the pharmacist became very annoyed and insisted that he was the professional and knew for a fact that Zyrtec was a heartburn medication.
— Anonymous

I was accidentally given a Rx for patients with heart failure. I was looking at the pills when I got out in the parking lot. I thought, well, maybe they changed manufacturers (because that HAS happened with one of medications before). Then I started reading the information that was stapled on the bag, and promptly went back in with the pills.
— Paula King, Ripley, N.Y.

Some years ago, I was given Toprol instead of Topamax. Fortunately, I am a nurse, and knew the difference between the drugs. It could have been much worse.
— Anonymous

I was prescribed Tapazole for a thyroid problem, rapid heartbeats and fever at the dosage of .05 milligrams 5 times a day. The pharmacy misread the prescription and gave me Trazodone, a controlled substance narcotic, which is unavailable in .05 dosage, so they 'thought' the doctor must have meant .50. I took this and got very sick, couldn't drive, and was not getting well. My doctor dropped the ball and thought I wasn't taking my medication, because I was not getting better. I finally told the doctor I would not take Trazodone anymore it is killing me, and she said 'where did you get Trazodone?' (after 2 refills!) She called the pharmacy and they figured it out. I started getting well after 2 weeks on the right med, but should not have been driving on the narcotic, also the dosage was enough to sedate an elephant — I am small, and would take the pill, walk into the next room and collapse on the floor asleep. then wake up and do it again. We sued, and won $12,000 — wow, I almost died and the store's defense was, it was an honest mistake and happens millions of times a year, since I didn't die or have permanent damage, I didn't deserve more.
— Anonymous

I was given an anti-depressant medication incorrectly dispensed by the pharmacist. Fortunately, the medication was in the same classification of anti-depressants and it did not cause any harm. My doctor phoned the pharmacist immediately and addressed the issue. I was later contacted by a representative of the drug store chain who was very apologetic.
— Anonymous

The pharmacist incorrectly labeled my mother's perscription. She caught her error, which was labeling Mom's with another customer's. She phoned asking that I return to the pharmacy, bring the medication. She said she also asked ther other person to do the same. We were all fortunate that neither of them had taken any of the medication.

Another incident occurred when my mom was hospitalized. She told the dispensing nurse that the medication she was trying to give my mother was not correct. She refussed to take it. It was actually the medication for the other patient in the bed next to her. That patient died during the night. We do not know if there was an investigation, probably not since my mom was never questioned. The dispensing nurse was very agressive toward us for questioning her about the medication.
— Carolyn Keene, Cortez, Colo.

When I was released from the hospital after a heart attack they gave me a bag full of different pills and told me not to stop until they were all used. That night I broke into a sweat and fell down in the bathroom so dizzy I could not get up. My wife called the doctor and he wanted to know what I was taking. When he heard some of the names of the stuff he told my wife to throw them away and get me back to the hospital asap. I survived this little episode but I don't trust them anymore.
— Anonymous

When my son was about 2, the drug store labeled the antibiotic as the cough syrup and the cough syrup as the antibiotic. My son wasn't getting any better after a day, so I called the doctor, and he was smart enough to ask me the color of the medications. That's when we found out they had been marked incorrectly. I called the drug store and told them what had happened — they could have cared less. Needless to say, I don't shop there anymore, and I do let my friends and family know which store it is. You don't mess with a mother hen's chick!
— Anonymous

Yes. I recognized that the pills did not look like the drug I had been taking. I called the pharmacy. They corrected it immediately. Fortunately it was a refill, so I knew what pill to look for. I always check a pill before I take it to see for myself if it is the pill I recognize.
— Anonymous

I am a renal transplant and I take the drug Imuran as an anti-rejection medication. I had my perscription refilled at the same drug store that I used for along time. After returning home from this drug store with my perscription refill I noticed that the tablets were capsules. I called the drug store immediately and talked with a pharmacist who asked me to bring the Imuran back to the store. A pharmacist had used the wrong medication. If I had not known to check on the difference of pills I don't know what would have happened.
— Barbara, Alabama

I was prescibed Sarafem for PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). I went to pick up the prescription, which was called in, and the pharmacist told me how to take it. I thought her directions were vastly different from how my GYN told me to take it, so I questioned it. The pharmacist made a comment about trying to conceive and when I assured her I wasn't (I was only 20) she looked at the prescription she had filled for Serophene (a fertility drug!!!). They sure do sound similar, and both would come from an OB/GYN. I'm glad I asked. I also immediately changed pharmacies as they should have noticed that I was on birth control that had recently been refilled (by them!).
— Anonymous

Several years ago I was given ranitidine (which is for stomach acid) instead of rimantidine (which is for the flu! which I had at the time) Fortunately, I knew what ranitidine was and was able to get the correct drug from a very embarassed pharmacy.
— Anonymous

My kid, who was 12 at the time, received a shipment of Toporol (high blood pressure med) instead of Topamax (anti-seizure med), from mail order meds mandated by insurance company. Had to pay $120 for emergency scrip for Topamax, as kid was running out of pills, no time to wait for mail order correction. What really shocked us, the drugs were shipped in an unremarkable package, addressed to the KID, the 12-year-old KID, not to the responsible adults. Package looked like something the kid could have sent away for by collecting cereal box tops. Meds to a kid under 18 should ALWAYS be sent to responsible adults "in care of" a kid, not TO the kid. BTW, insurance company dropped that mail order place, uses a different one.
— Anonymous

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