SAFETY ALERT: Risperidone and Ropinirole Name Confusion

The FDA has notified healthcare professionals and the public of medication error reports in which patients were given risperidone (Risperdal; Janssen Pharmaceutica) instead of ropinirole (Requip; GlaxoSmithKline) and vice versa. Some patients who took the wrong medication needed to be hospitalized. Factors contributing to the confusion between the two products include: similarities of both the brand and generic names; similarities of the container labels and carton packaging; illegible handwriting on prescriptions; overlapping product characteristics, such as the drug strengths, dosage forms, and dosing intervals. Healthcare professionals are reminded to clearly print or spell out the medication name on prescriptions and make certain their patients know the name of their prescribed medication and their reason for taking it.

Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication used to treat mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autistic disorder. Requip is a dopamine agonist used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and Restless Legs Syndrome.

For more information visit www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm258905.htm.