Labels could help clear up prescription confusion

Monday, May 12th 2008, 8:00 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

Select pharmacy groups are pushing for a mandate they say could help ease some of the confusion surrounding prescription medications.

Nancie Sturges said she takes a variety of different medications to help her stay healthy. She also keeps track of her parents' medication as well, she said.

"Each of them take their own myriad of medications," Sturges said. "It's very difficult when you see a name, to discern why you're taking that medicine or what you're taking it for."

With almost a dozen different prescriptions, Sturges admitted that keeping an eye on all her medications and her parents' medications has become overwhelming.

To help ease the confusion, leading pharmacy groups called for label changes. The groups said they want states to make it mandatory for labels to be placed on the prescription bottles explaining why the patient is taking the medicine.

Carmen Catizone of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy said the concept could prevent a potentially dangerous situation.

"If a patient receives a medication that they shouldn't receive because of a problem with a sound-a-like name or a look-a-like name, it could be very dangerous," Catizone said. "It would help the pharmacist know more about what the patient's condition was and what the mediation should be."

While some members of the American Medical Association agreed having the indication listed on prescription medication is good thing, they also argued it should be an option for patients who want to keep the reasons for their medication private.

"I may not want my spouse to know what I'm being treated for or I may have some other people living in my home and it's none of their business," said Dr. Edward Langston of the American Medical Association.

Currently, Oklahoma does not require the labels, but patients may request the indication on any label by asking their physician.