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September 16, 1974

Trade Names, Generic Names

Author Affiliations

Huntington, WVa

JAMA. 1974;229(12):1579. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230500015009

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To the Editor.—  A common problem in the pharmacy is interpretation of orders for drugs with similar trade name, generic name, and therapeutic indication. This problem was exemplified in the letter, "Subgluteal Infection Following Regional Anesthesia," appearing in the July 15, 1974, issue of The Journal (229:268, 1974).Cephalexin monohydrate (Keflex) is available only in oral dosage forms. Possibly, the authors were referring to one of the other parenteral cephalosporin antibiotics, such as cephalothin sodium (Keflin), cephaloridine (Loridine), cefazolin sodium (Ancef, Kefzol), or cephapirin sodium (Cefadyl).Confusion as to which drug entity is desired can be dangerous when differences in dosages exist and when multiple communications are used in transmission of the physician's order, such as physician to nurse, or nurse to pharmacist.One method of decreasing the chance of misinterpretation would be strict adherence to a formulary system that included only one drug entity of a pharmacological class of