News


Safety Announcement

by Helios | Jul 31, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a precautionary Drug Safety Communication warning to health care professionals and patients about reported confusion between the antidepressant Brintellix® (vortioxetine) and the anti-blood clotting medication Brilinta® (ticagrelor) resulting in dispensing and prescribing errors, most likely due to the similarity in their brand names.

Brintellix is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant used to treat depression, whereas Brilinta is an antiplatelet medication used to thin blood and lower the risk of having another heart attack, or dying from a heart issue after a heart attack or severe chest pain. To help distinguish between the two medications, Brintellix is a tear-shaped tablet stamped with “TL” on one side and a number indicating the strength on the other side of the tablet; color varies depending on strength. Brilinta is a round, yellow tablet with a “90” above a “T” stamped on one side.  

As of June 2015, the FDA has received 50 reports of medication prescribing and dispensing errors. There have been no reports of patients taking the wrong medication or other adverse health effects.

Recommended Actions

No action is necessary on behalf of workers’ compensation payers at this time. Injured workers with questions regarding their medication therapy are encouraged to speak with their prescriber and/or pharmacist. Additionally, when taking medication(s), the following safety measures are recommended:

  • Check the name on the prescription bottle to ensure the correct medication was dispensed
  • Look at the appearance of the tablet as described above
  • Know why you are taking the medication
  • Talk to your health care provider if you think there is an error
  • Do not take the medication if you think the medication does not look right
  • Immediately notify the pharmacy where the medication was dispensed if an error is suspected

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Medication Alert or the medications discussed, please contact our Clinical Services team at ask-a-pharmacist@helioscomp.com.

References:

1. FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns about prescribing and dispensing errors resulting from brand name confusion with antidepressant Brintellix (vortioxetine) and antiplatelet Brilinta (ticagrelor). Available at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM456524.pdf. Accessed July 30, 2015.

2. IMS Health, National Prescription Audit (NPA), Sept 2013-Apr 2015, Extracted June 2015.