The French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) and the National Agency for Sanitary, Food, Environmental and Occupational Safety (ANSES) reported a high risk of confusion between the two products at pharmacies.
It issued a warning to alert health professionals, patients and consumers of the potential confusion between the drug Lytos by Riemser Pharma GmbH and Lithos - a dietary supplement, marketed by Biohealth Italia.
Lytos is biphosphonate prescribed in some severe cases of hypercalcaemia (increased calcium in the blood), while Lithos is marketed for recovery from high loss of fluid due to excessive sweating, diuresis or diarrhea.
Since the pronunciations of these two products are identical and their writings very similar, confusion and medication errors can easily occur, said ANSES.
The agencies recommended that medical professionals are careful to also use the non-proprietary name (INN) in addition to the trade name when prescribing Lythos, and that any doctors suggesting patients use Lithos make it clear that the prescription is for a food supplement.
They also requested wholesalers and distributors verify which product is being ordered or distributed – especially in cases where orders for new products are placed orally or in writing by pharmacies.