Drug Danger: Same Drugs Have Different Ingredients

Many drugs in foreign countries have the same brand name as U.S. medications, but contain completely different ingredients - creating the danger of serious prescription mix-ups.

A safety alert issued to doctors and hospitals this year by the Institute for Safe Medication practices identified several drugs in the U.S. that have the same name as different drugs sold by different manufactures abroad, the Wall Street Journal reports.

For travelers who refill prescriptions in other countries, brand-name mix-ups could result in "patients not getting a life-saving drug, getting the wrong drug�or suffering unexpected drug interactions - especially�elderly people who take multiple medications," according to the Journal.

There is currently no regulatory body that keeps track of drug names globally.

Mike Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, said travelers should pack enough medication for their entire trip, noting both brand and generic names, and dosages, of all drugs.