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July 18, 1980

Proparacaine Drug Alert

Author Affiliations

National Registry of Drug Induced Ocular Side Effects
Portland, Ore

JAMA. 1980;244(3):240. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310030016013

To the Editor.—  There are increasing problems for the physician, pharmacist, and patients, not only with similar-sounding names of drugs, but also with similar-appearing dispensing units. A prime example of the latter is shown in the Figure. The Hemoccult slide test has a stabilized solution of hydrogen peroxide and denatured alcohol used for testing occult blood in stool specimens. Unfortunately, the bottle looks almost the same as Ophthaine (proparacaine hydrochloride solution, 0.5%), a local anesthetic used in ophthalmology. Because of this similarity, the Hemoccult slide test now has a paper ring over the neck of the bottle, but this is designed so it can be easily removed. Ophthaine does have a white band on the unopened bottle; however, once the seal is broken and removed, the bottles look strikingly similar. Both bottles are identical in size and shape and have black printing.There have been a number of reports to