Risperidone (Risperdal) and Ropinirole (Requip): Medication Errors – Name Confusion
AUDIENCE: Pharmacy, Psychiatry, Neurology, Internal Medicine
ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and the public of medication error reports in which patients were given risperidone (Risperdal) instead of ropinirole (Requip) and vice versa. In some cases, patients who took the wrong medication needed to be hospitalized.
The FDA determined that the factors contributing to the confusion between the two products include:
- Similarities of both the brand (proprietary) and generic (established) names
- Similarities of the container labels and carton packaging
- Illegible handwriting on prescriptions
- Overlapping product characteristics, such as the drug strengths, dosage forms, and dosing intervals.
BACKGROUND: Risperidone (Risperdal) is an antipsychotic medication used to treat mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autistic disorder. Ropinirole (Requip) is a dopamine agonist used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Restless Legs Syndrome.
RECOMMENDATION: Healthcare Professionals are reminded to clearly print or spell out the medication name on prescriptions and make certain their patients know the name of their prescribed medication and their reason for taking it.
Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events, side effects, or product quality problems related to the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
- Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
- Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178
Read the MedWatch safety alert, including a link to the Drug Safety Communication, at: