Similar Name, Container Labeling Leads to Mix-Ups Between Generic Risperdal and Parkinson’s Drug

Published on July 8, 2014 by Laurie Villanueva

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The generic version of an antipsychotic drug involved in Risperdal lawsuit filings has a similar name and container labeling to a widely-used treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which has led to hundreds of mix-ups at pharmacies throughout the U.S., PharmacyTimes.com reports.

A number of adverse events recorded by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) show that risperidone, the generic version of Risperdal, has been accidentally swapped with the anti-Parkinson’s treatment, ropinirole. There may be several reasons for this, according to a PharmacyTimes article on June 16th, including a similarity in carton packaging and container labels, plus the fact that both drugs start with the letter “r.” They also have the same number of syllables, and dosage forms, frequency and strengths (0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, and 4 mg).

Following several reports of these medications being mistaken for each other, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert in 2011 that instructed manufacturers to use tall-man lettering on container and carton packaging. Health care practitioners were also told to take the following precautions in avoiding future mix-ups: print the drug name on the prescription and include its purpose; spell out each name while taking telephone and voicemail orders.

Included in the instances recorded by regulators is a case involving a risperidone patient who was switching pharmacies, and requested that the new facility collect his/her prescription information. When the new pharmacy processed the request over the phone, the drug was mistaken for ropinirole, the anti-Parkinson’s drug 2mg. The mistake was realized when the caregiver and patient came in to pick up their risperidone prescription.

Another ISMP report involves a patient who experienced nausea and an unexpected sedative effect after taking a 6mg of what he thought was risperidone. It was later discovered that the pharmacy dispensed 3 mg tablets of ropinirole instead, which had similar printing.

Lawsuits over Risperdal

Patients who may receive the proper dosage of Risperdal may not be safe from side effects, however. At least 500 lawsuits alleging Risperdal gynecomastia complications have now been filed in the Phialdelphia Court of Common Pleas, on behalf of men and young boys who claim to have developed male breasts following use of the antipsychotic.

To find out more about Risperdal, and the lawsuits that have been filed over the antipsychotic medication, call the following number:.