Commonly Confused Mental Health Medications
The HealthCentral Editorial Team Apr 3, 2012 (updated Sep 27, 2013)
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8 mental health medications and their similarly named drug counterparts with which they're often confused.
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Of the 1.5 million medication mistakes that occur every year, about 25 percent are due to drugs that have similar names being accidentally prescribed to patients. Experts say these errors are due to a number of factors--including illegible doctor's handwriting and alphabetical shelving in pharmacies--and they can have serious consequences for patients.
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Adderall and Inderal
Adderall is a medication used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and the sleep disorder narcolepsy. It's similarly named counterpart is Inderal, a drug used to treat high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart disease, a type of tumor called pheochromocytoma, and certain types of tremors.
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Navane and Norvasc
Navane is a conventional antipsychotic medication that's prescribed to treat such conditions as schizophrenia. Norvasc, a calcium channel blocker medication that is sometimes prescribed in Navane's place, is a drug used to treat hypertension and chest pain.
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Paxil and Plavix
The antidepressant Paxil is a commonly prescribed medication for depression, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, it's sometimes confused with Plavix, a powerful blood thinner often given to people who've suffered a heart attack or stroke.
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Prozac and Prilosec
If you suffer from depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, or some eating disorders, you may be prescribed the drug Prozac. Prilosec is a medication it's sometimes confused with by pharmacists and patients, which is used to treat ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
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Seroquel and Serzone
The drug Seroquel is prescribed to people with schizophrenia to help them better manage the disturbed or unusual thinking, strong or inappropriate emotions, or loss of interest in life that can be symptoms of this condition. Serzone, a medication with which Seroquel is sometimes mistaken, is prescribed to treat depression and anxiety.
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Xanax and Zantac
Xanax is a benzodiazepine that's prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks. The similarly named Zantac is sometimes prescribed accidentally instead of Xanax. It is a medication used to treat ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and other conditions that cause the stomach to produce too much acid such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
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Celexa and Celebrex
Celexa is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor prescribed to treat people who are suffering from depression. This drug is sometimes confused with Celebrex, a pain medication used to treat people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that affects the spine.
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Zyprexa and Zyrtec
People who suffer from either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (also known as manic depressive disorder) are prescribed the mood stabilizer Zyprexa. But the drug Zyrtec, a sound-alike drug for Zyprexa, is prescribed to treat hayfever and other allergies.