Tall Man Letters

Tall man (uppercase) letters are used within a drug name to highlight its primary dissimilarities and help differentiate between other drug names that are similar in appearance. Several studies have shown that highlighting sections of words using tall man lettering can make similar drug names easier to distinguish, and fewer errors are made when tall man letters are used to differentiate products with look-alike names.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), the FDA, The Joint Commission,9 and other safety-conscious organizations such as the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)10 have promoted the use of tall man letters as one means of reducing confusion between similar drug names. From a survey conducted by the ISMP, most respondents appeared to agree. Nearly all of those surveyed (87%) felt that the use of tall man letters by the medical product industry helped to reduce errors in drug selection, and two-thirds (64%) reported that tall man lettering actually prevented them from dispensing or administering the wrong medication.
ICP began using tall man lettering in 2009. Our current list of look-alike drug names with corresponding tall man lettering is below. Taking a bit of extra time when handling these products can have a large impact on patient safety.


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