The objective of LASA policy is to provide a guideline on medicine which are similar in look (look-alike) and similar in pronunciation (sound-alike) to prevent an error like near-miss, adverse and sentinel events.
Table of Contents
Chief Pharmacists, Pharmacists, HOD of pharmacy, Medical Services Head, Clinical Team, Nurse Head, staff Nurse
Hospital needs the policy to maintain awareness of look-alike and sound-alike drug names as published by various safety agencies and for those appropriate medicines available at the Hospital Pharmacy. It is to regularly provide information to professional staff to treat these medicines with extra precautions to prevent error.
“Lookalike and Sound alike” drugs as those which are:
- Similar in Packing, the appearance of the dosage form
- Similar when written as a prescription
- Those drugs which sound similar when communicated verbally.
Policies on LASA drugs
a. At the Prescribing end
• To write all the prescription legibly and in capital letter.
• List brand and generic names on medication administration records
b. At dispensing end
• To get the prescription reviewed and confirmed from the treating physician in case of any illegible writing or any doubts just before dispensing.
• Whenever possible, determine the purpose of the medication before dispensing or drug administration (Most products with look or sound-alike names are used for different purposes).
• Consider the possibility of name confusion when adding a new product to the formulary.
c. At Storing end:
• A list is prepared of LASA drugs essentially including all the drugs with Look-Alike and Sound-Alike risk from the Hospital Pharmacy Formulary.
• To Display the LASA list next to areas where look or sound-alike products are stored
• Store products with look or sound-alike names in different locations in pharmacies, patient care units, and in other settings, including patient homes. (Example: instead of storing by generic name (e.g. vincristine and vinblastine) store drugs by brand name (e.g. Oncovin and Velban) while medication arrangement.
• Change the appearance of look-alike product names in nursing unit shelf labels and bins, pharmacy product labels, and medication administration records by highlighting, through bold face, colour, and/or tall man letters, the parts of the names that are different. Eg:
- Vincristine & vinBLAstine
- DOXorubicin & DAUNorubicin
- FoliC acid & FoliNIC acid
d. At Management Level
• Minimize look-alike, sound-alike formulary combinations during Formulary selection of drugs.
e. Colour codes used for identifying Look-Alike and Sound-Alike & High-Risk Medicine.