FDA Safety Alert: Telling Brintellix and Brilinta Apart

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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The FDA has issued a safety announcement for Brintellix (vortioxetine) and Brilinta (ticagrelor)—two medications with very similar names and appearances.

A look-alike-sound-alike medication, or LASA for short, is a medication that can be easily confused with another similar drug. Brintellix and Brilinta are a perfect example of LASA medications.

Even though they look and sound alike, Brintellix and Brilinta are two very different medications that treat different conditions. Prescribing and dispensing confusion is serious, and either drug could be harmful if not taken correctly.

Why did the FDA issue the alert?

The FDA issued a safety alert due to continued reports of prescribing and dispensing errors. It may help to know that it was not due to any reports of a patient taking the wrong medication.

What kind of medication is Brintellix?
Brintellix is an antidepressant prescribed for the treatment of major depressive disorder.

It’s available as a tablet in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg strengths.

You can find images and more information on Brintellix here.

What kind of medication is Brilinta?
Brilinta is an anti-platelet drug used to prevent blood clots for people at risk of having another heart attack, or of dying from a heart problem after a heart attack or severe chest pain.

It is also available as a tablet, in a 90 mg dosage only.

You can find images and more information on Brilinta here.

What should I do if I am taking one of these medications?

If you are new to Brintellix or Brilinta and think you may have received the incorrect medication from the doctor or pharmacy, check with your doctor and pharmacist before taking any of your prescription.

Want more information?

You can find the full FDA safety alert here.

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