TGA reminds pharmacists about ingredient names update

Keep an eye on safety as medicine ingredient names change, says TGA spokesperson

Some Australian pharmaceutical ingredient names have been updated to reflect those used internationally, the TGA reminds pharmacists.

The four year transition period for these changes started in April this year and will end in April 2020. Dual labelling will continue until April 2023.

Medicines with labels using the new ingredient names will have started to appear on shelves already.

Although the name of the ingredient may have changed, the medicine is the same, reminds the TGA.

“Take care when prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines to make sure that the right product is selected,” it says.

Names used in Australia are being updated to align with the World Health Organization’s International Nonproprietary Names (INN) system, which is considered the gold standard for medicine ingredient names, according to TGA spokesperson Jola Samoc.

This process has already done by a number of other countries over the years, including the United Kingdom in 2003 and New Zealand in 2008.

Some changes of the changes are quite minor, but need to be noted. For example:

  • Spelling: amoxycillin → amoxicillin
  • Spacing: cyanocobalamin(57Co) → cyanocobalamin (57Co)
  • Hydration state: carbidopa anhydrous → carbidopa

Meanwhile, some changes are more significant and will be included using dual labelling:

  • lignocaine → lidocaine (lignocaine)
  • amethocaine → tetracaine (amethocaine)
  • colaspase → asparaginase (colaspase)

Adrenaline and noradrenaline continue to be the names used in Australia. However, in addition to the approved ingredient name, the INNs (epinephrine and norepinephrine) will also be required on:

  • medicine labels
  • product information
  • consumer Medicine Information

See the full list of affected ingredients here

Pharmacists can download these materials to help raise awareness about ingredient name changes in the workplace:

Poster (A4) (pdf,458kb)

Poster (A3) (pdf,458kb)

A6 postcard (individual) (pdf,457kb)

A6 postcard (prints 4 to a page) (pdf,634kb)

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