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'Don't be caught by drug name changes'

Medical defence experts are warning GPs not to get caught out by changes to drug names which come into force next month. Hundreds of generic and non-proprietary drugs' names change from December 1 to bring the UK into line with European law.

Dr Stephen Green, head of risk management at the Medical Defence Union, said GPs should check if they needed an upgrade to computerised prescribing systems and drop-down formularies.

He added: 'As the majority of prescribing by GPs uses generic names they need to be aware of these changes to prevent an error occurring.'

GPs should also check repeat prescribing protocols and tell patients of any name chan-ges, he said. Some changes involve only spelling but others are more substantial.

Amoxycillin becomes amox- icillin, cephradine becomes cefradine, and cephalexin becomes cefalexine. But bismuth glycollylarsanilate changes to glycobiarsol, and trimeprazine becomes alimemazine.

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