UK. Three reports of serious medication errors due to confusion between mercaptamine and mercaptopurine, both of which are 50mg in strength, have been received by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The Agency reminds health-care professionals to be aware that alphabetized lists of medicines may have changed, and to be careful when selecting medicines to avoid such errors. The MHRA notes that this error has the potential to have a serious outcome as mercaptopurine is used mainly to treat acute leukaemia whereas mercaptamine has anaemia and leukopenia as side effects.
Information to Healthcare Professionals, MHRA, 30 April 2004. Available on the Internet at www.mhra.gov.uk