The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning pharmacists about potential dispensing errors that could occur as a result of a mix-up between 2 drugs with very similar brand names. Patients given the wrong prescription due to pharmacist confusion and subsequent dispensing mistakes could endure serious injuries.

The two brands in question are Durezol and Durasal. Durezol, manufactured by Sirion Therapeutics, is an FDA approved topical corticosteriod indicated for relieving postoperative inflammation and pain. Durasal, made by Elorac Inc., is an unapproved, topical wort remover which contains salicylic acid.

On December 27, the FDA announced that the brand names caused such confusion that a pharmacist inadvertently dispensed Durasal to a patient recovering from eye surgery instead of the prescribed Durezol. As a result, the patient was seriously injured.

Federal health regulators try to prevent this problem by comparing the names of products going through the approval process to others currently on the market. Unfortunately, this precautionary check was not made for Durezol and Durasal, given the fact that Durasal did not go through the FDA’s approval process.

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