United States of America. To date, at least 40 documented actual and potential medication errors with Celebrex (celecoxib) have been reported to the USP-ISMP Medication Errors Reporting Program and FDA MedWatch programme. Prescriptions for Celebrex, a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) inhibitor approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, have been estimated at more than 1.2 million after 11 weeks on the market.
Errors with Celebrex stem primarily from look-alike and sound-alike name confusion with two other existing drugs, Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide, an antidepressant) and Cerebyx (fosphenytoin, an anti-seizure drug). Prior to the introduction of Celebrex, the manufacturer, Searle, had planned to name the drug “Celebra”. However, practitioners expressed concern to the FDA that “Celebra” may be confused with other drug names and the product was renamed. Unfortunately the new name selected, Celebrex, is also easily confused with existing drugs.
Reference: ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Vol. 4, Issue 7, 7 April 1999.