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February 1, 1985

Medication Similarities

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Virginia Richmond

JAMA. 1985;253(5):632-633. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350290034009

To the Editor.—  The recent letter by Brennan et al1 reminded me of a patient referred to our general medical clinic for hypertension. According to the patient, her blood pressure had been well controlled for several years while taking 5 mg/day of methyclothiazide (Enduron). She had recently seen her physician and had her prescription refilled. Her blood pressure had been noted to be well controlled at that visit. The medication bottle brought by her to our clinic contained 10-mg tablets of propranolol hydrochloride (Inderal), not 5-mg tablets of methyclothiazide. She had been taking them once daily as directed on the label.This case demonstrates the confusion of two drugs that not only have similar-sounding product names, but are also quite similar in size, shape, and even color. It emphasizes the need for patients to closely examine prescriptions they have renewed to be certain the drug is the same; the