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Medical News & Perspectives
October 20, 1999

What's in a (Drug) Name? Plenty!

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JAMA. 1999;282(15):1409-1410. doi:10.1001/jama.282.15.1409

The similarity in the nonproprietary names of two cardiac drugs has resulted in 11 medication errors, including one death, and is compelling authorities to propose name changes.

The revisions are being suggested for amrinone and amiodarone. Amrinone is a positive inotropic agent with vasodilator activity, and amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic agent. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and the United States Adopted Names Council, which assign generic names to drugs, are proposing changing amrinone to inamrinone—using the "in" prefix that appears in the innovator's brand name Inocor, and changing amiodarone to camiodarone—using the "c" prefix appearing in the innovator's brand name Cordarone.