RX FOR DISASTER — (New York Post)

Original article no longer available

New York Post


Apr 25, 2002

Denise Rogers went to this Hastings-on-Hudson drugstore for Seroquel, but was given Serzone instead.
– NYP: Francis Specker
April 25, 2002 — She just wanted to get some sleep. Instead, a Westchester woman’s botched drug prescription triggered a dangerous, near-suicidal spiral. The drama began when Denise Rogers, a one-time New York City model who worked for Avon, Clairol, MTV and Essence magazine, picked up her usual prescription for the anti-psychotic Seroquel at Greenleaf Pharmacy in Hastings-on-Hudson Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, Greenleaf owner-pharmacist Peter Capuano filled Rogers’ script with another drug: The similarly named anti-depressant Serzone. “One big risk of Serzone is it could trigger a manic episode for a bipolar person,” said Dr. Gregory Miller, of Harlem’s North General Hospital. Apparently, it did.
Rogers, who said she was diagnosed as bipolar in 1997, took the pill before bedtime. In a matter of hours, “she was in a seriously manic state,” her husband, Toby, told The Post. “I woke up at 4 a.m. and she was crying and screaming, saying she wanted to kill herself. It scared me to death.” “I was suicidal,” Denise concurred. “Not to the point where I was planning it out and writing final letters, but the thought had made its way into my head – I haven’t felt that way in a very long time. I was out of control. I was talking very fast, I was very hyped-up. When you get into a manic stage, your judgment gets very clouded, you think and do really crazy things.” The couple said they will file a complaint with the state pharmacy board and may sue Capuano. “It was a mistake – nobody’s perfect,” the druggist said in a brief interview outside his store yesterday. “It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. We’re busy all the time – people want things filled in a hurry. So you think one thing, but you do another.” Seroquel is a round, yellow pill; Serzone is white, squat hexagon. Both come in the 100-mg dose prescribed to Rogers, but, unlike Seroquel, Serzone pills don’t have the drug’s name printed on them. “When I opened the bottle, I realized right away the pills looked different, but I’ve used that pharmacy for years – I trusted them. I just thought maybe they’d given me a new, generic version,” Rogers told The Post. The next day, the couple called Capuano, who realized and admitted his mistake, Toby said.