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In brief: Untangling drug name confusion; leprosy may be endemic in the South

Aug. 15, 2023
Learn about the issue of confusing drug names; a rise in leprosy cases in the South; how one state is making it easier for new dentists to practice; and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Leprosy on the rise in the south

Leprosy is on the rise in Central Florida, leading the CDC to deem it endemic in the Southeastern US. Historically uncommon in the US, leprosy cases have more than doubled in the Southeast over the last decade, with Central Florida accounting for 81% of cases reported in the state and one-fifth of cases confirmed in the country.

Despite the uptick, the disease is still very rare and not highly contagious, and most people are not susceptible to it.

Untangling drug name confusion

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has recently added some 80 pairs of drug names to its original list of more than 500 confusing drug names, conceived with the overarching goal of reducing the risk of a serious medication mistake when the wrong medication is given because of similarities in drug names’ look and sound. The ISMP offers different strategies for health-care providers to reduce prescription confusion, such as using both the brand and generic names on prescriptions and labels, including the purpose of the medication on prescriptions, and using “tall-man lettering”—use of uppercase letters, sometimes in bold, to reduce confusion.

Removing wisdom teeth: What's the right call?

According to the Washington Post, many parents opt to have their teenagers’ wisdom teeth removed before they leave for college, often even before there’s any issue with the teeth, and while their child is still covered by their parents’ health insurance. But there is little consensus among health-care professionals on the practice of removing wisdom teeth, with an ADA spokesperson voicing dentists' support of the practice but opponents regarding such “prophylactic extractions as unnecessary surgery.”

New dentists in WI can start jobs without taking practical exam

In Wisconsin, a shortage of dentists has prompted the state to make it easier for new dental school graduates to start practicing by eliminating their requirement to take the practical exam before starting a job. Wisconsin's Dentistry Examining Board, under the Department of Safety and Professional Services, voted to make Wisconsin's only dental school, Marquette University's School of Dentistry, a testing organization and eliminating the practical exam “because the board found Marquette's curriculum already assessed the same skills.” In practical terms, this means new graduates can start working sooner than they would have been able to if they'd had to wait to take (and pass) their practical exam.