Risperdal vs. Requip Confusion that May Result in Lawsuits

Risperdal and Requipare are two medications that have caused confusion in both people dispensing the medication and those receiving the medications. Both generic and brand names, risperidone (Risperdal) and ropinirole (Requip), have sounded similarly enough that the wrong medication has been dispensed to over 200 people. In several of these cases, people had to be hospitalized. The carton label and packaging are also similar, adding to the confusion. Pharmacists may have also misinterpreted the handwriting of the physicians who prescribed the medication since the names are spelled similarly. The drug strengths, dosages and times of day requirements for taking the drug are also similar. However, the two drugs are very different, as follows:

* Risperidone (Risperdal) is an antipsychotic drug that is prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autistic disorder.

* Ropinirole (Requip) is a dopamine type of drug that is prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Restless Legs Syndrome.

Patients using these drugs are advised to be very cautious and double check their medications at the time of dispensing at the pharmacy. Patients are advised to check their medications at home. Physicians have been reminded to clearly print out the drug name and the reason for the prescription.

Pharmacists are very careful to dispense appropriate medications. They have check and balance systems in place to prevent dispensing the wrong medication. Yet, the risk of dispensing the wrong medication in this case is high when compared to other drugs. As such, you can ask your pharmacist

why you need to take the drug. In this way, you will know firsthand if the drug you received is the drug you are supposed to be taking. Pharmacists do know he reasons why specific drugs are dispended and can be helpful in this manner.

The FDA is requesting that the manufacturers of Requip (GlaxoSmithKline), Risperdal (Johnson & Johnson), and the generic ropinirole and risperidone products take action to prevent confusion in the future.

Patient Tips for Prescription Drug Use

Prescription drugs are often a target of litigation for a variety of reasons. In some cases, risks relating to prescription drugs are not disclosed to the patient through the drug label so patients cannot truly make an informed decision about the drug to weigh the risks against the benefits. In these cases, a lawsuit may be appropriate if the patient experiences a serious illness when the risk becomes a reality. In other cases, the drugs are not properly manufactured which may lead to an improper dosage that may pose a risk to a patient. There are other several reasons why a lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer of a drug when it relates to a life threatening illness that a patient encounters after taking the drug. So, the following tips are designed to assist in in preventing the risk of a life threatening illness from a prescription medication.

* Ask you physician to describe the risks and benefits associated with the medications you are being prescribed.

* View your prescription before you leave your physician’s office. If the names of the drug, dosage or directions are not

legible to you, ask the physician to clarify and write it down for your own records.

* When you receive your medication, ask the pharmacist to describe what you are taking the medication for and review the instructions with them.

* Check your drug tablets to see if they are the same as you have received in the past.

* If you experience side effects from a drug, report it to your physician immediately.

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