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Changes to Medication Naming in Australia

10 July 2019 - Ken Hambrecht

Changes to Medication Naming in Australia

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced that Australia will be implementing changes to medication names by 2020, to align with the international standardised medication names. This move away from the Australian Approved Names (AAN) is to be in alignment with the International Non-proprietary Names (INNs), which has been developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This change will lead to long term benefits with medication safety, as patients and healthcare professionals who travel internationally will experience less confusion. It will also allow the simplification of searching for a particular medication such as the use of frusemide in acute pulmonary oedema, and not capturing a study that uses the name furosemide, or studies that involve epinephrine rather than adrenaline in the title or keywords. Both the UK and New Zealand underwent the same process in 2003 and 2008 respectively.

Some medications that have been deemed high risk will include both names on the label, as the potential for errors during emergency situations is high. Some examples of medication used in Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) include: adrenaline (epinephrine), noradrenaline (norepinephrine), and lidocaine (lignocaine). Healthcare professionals with ALS and PALS certification should be aware of these changes, to reduce confusion and errors during critical events. A full list of the TGA changes can be found at https://www.tga.gov.au/updating-medicine-ingredient-names-list-affected-ingredients.

If you are looking to update your certification in ALS and PALS, please see our upcoming events in Melbourne and Sydney below.
3rd & 4th August: Melbourne (ALS and PALS)
11 & 12th October: Sydney (ALS)
13th October: Sydney (PALS)
25th & 26th October: Melbourne (ALS)
27th October: Melbourne (PALS)

References:
NPS Medicinewise, Department of Health, Australian Government, published 1 June 2017, https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/changing-australian-medicine-names

Therapeutic Goods Administration, Department of Health, Australian Government, published 23 April 2019, https://www.tga.gov.au/labelling-changes-information-health-professionals

Ken Hambrecht
Ken Hambrecht

Ken Hambrecht RN, ICU Cert., B.Sc, (Physiology & Biochem.), M.I.Biol, M.Ed., J.P. MACN, has extensive experience in Critical Care practice & Medical education. This includes more than 25 years co-ordinating & teaching Critical Care Courses and other Medical Education. Ken is the Founder and Principal Consultant for Critical Care Education Services.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to medical education, Ken has been awarded honorary life membership of the Australian College of Perianaesthesia Nurses (ACPAN). Ken has also been a member of the Australian Resuscitation Council, including the Advanced Life Support Committee.

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