Sound-alike/Look-alike drugs, also called SALA or LASA drugs, are medications that either have names that sound similar or are the same size, shape, and color. The danger is that the drugs that SALA drugs resemble often are harmful or even deadly when taken by someone who doesn’t have the condition the erroneous drug is supposed to treat.
The possibility of confusing one drug for another arises with hand-written prescriptions if the writing is unclear, contains abbreviations or symbols, or is in all capital letters. A SALA prescription that is called in may also be misunderstood by someone for whom English is a second language, who is hard of hearing, or who is working in a noisy environment, or if the phone line is less than optimal. The person taking the phoned-in prescription should always repeat back what she or he has heard to ensure accuracy.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) publishes a couple of helpful lists. One is a list of more than 300 medication pairs that have been involved in medication errors. The other is a list of abbreviations that should not be used in prescription orders because of the possibility of misinterpretation; the intended meaning; possible misinterpretations; and the ISMP’s suggested alternative.
If your health has been damaged or endangered because of a Kentucky pharmacy error, contact the Louisville medication error attorneys at Gray and White Law. Call us at 502-210-8942 or toll free at 888-450-4456 and set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation.