News Release

Updated ISMP List of Often Confused Drug Names Now Available

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has revised its list of drug names that are often confused, including look-alike and sound-alike name pairs. More than 80 name pairs have been added since the last version. The refreshed list now incorporates the drug names that use U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved and ISMP-recommended tall man (mixed-case) letters.

“To update the list, we drew from what has been published in ISMP’s medication safety newsletters, following our analysis of the reports submitted to ISMP, as well as the current FDA list,” says Michael J. Gaunt, PharmD, senior manager, error reporting programs for ISMP. “Our goal was to give healthcare practitioners all the information that they need in one reference.”

ISMP hopes that healthcare organizations will use the current list to determine which medications require special safeguards to reduce the risk of errors. Strategies for risk reduction could include:

  • Using both brand and generic names on prescriptions and labels

  • Including the purpose of the medication on prescriptions

  • Configuring computer systems to require a minimum of the first five letters of a drug name during product searches to limit similar names from appearing together on the same screen

  • Changing the appearance of look-alike product names to draw attention to their differences

For a copy of the up-to-date ISMP List of Confused Drug Names, visit: List of Confused Drug Names | Institute For Safe Medication Practices (

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