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Diphenhydramine vs. Dimenhydrinate – be aware of medications that sound or look alike

May 4, 2016

Although direct cancer treatment medications are filled by Cancer Services pharmacies, other supportive care medications are obtained from community pharmacies. One medication cancer patients may obtain from community pharmacies in their cancer treatment protocols is diphenhydramine, which is used for preventing infusion reactions related to chemotherapy. Alberta Health Services has become aware of several instances where patients have received dimenhydrinate (used for nausea and vomiting) in error, resulting in significant clinical consequences for the patient.

Pharmacists are reminded to read prescriptions carefully, being aware of look-alike and sound-alike medications, and ensuring that the correct product is provided to the patient