Brintellix, an antidepressant, sounded so much like Brilinta, a blood thinner, that it led to dozens of medical errors — until Brintellix was changed to Trintellix in 2016.
That's the kind of mistake that a new prediction model developed by researchers at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute aims to prevent.
Research analyst Qoua Her presented it at a major pharmacy conference in Boston Monday.
Among the team's findings: Different drugs from the same maker often look dangerously alike — similar text, logo and packaging.
"So say if you're in a pharmacy, you're going to grab a bottle off the shelf to fill a patient's prescriptions, you could grab the wrong bottle because it looks pretty much the same," Her says.
His team aims to create a screening tool that could help catch the rare confusing names that may get past the Food and Drug Administration's name approval process.