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November 2012, Volume 42 Number 11 , p 12 - 12


  • Michael R. Cohen ScD, MS, RPH


An expectorant liquid from Silarx Pharmaceuticals called Siltussin SA (guaifenesin) is labeled as shown below. From the suffix SA, one might reasonably assume that the medication is a sustained-action product. This isn't the case. The manufacturer intends the modifier SA to mean that the product is sugar- and alcohol-free.The FDA actively discourages manufacturers from using ambiguous and error-prone drug name modifiers. Ambiguous abbreviations cause confusion and medication errors, including incorrect dosing intervals.An FDA review process has established drug monographs for each class of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs covering acceptable ingredients, doses, formulations, and labeling. This product is marketed under the expectorant monograph. Monograph OTC products don't require a new drug application and may be marketed without further FDA clearance, thus bypassing FDA review. Educate patients using Siltussin SA about this potential hazard. Remind them to read all medication labels and

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