A 56-year-old male presents with a past medical history significant for hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and has a mechanical mitral heart valve. He walks up to the pharmacy to refill his warfarin, but there are multiple strengths on his profile, and he doesn’t remember what number is on it. He does remember that the tablet he takes every day is blue. Which of the following strengths comes in a blue tablet?
A. 2 mg
B. 3 mg
C. 4 mg
D. 6 mg
Answer with rationale:
The correct answer is C.
Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) comes in many tablet strengths, but they all have a standardized color based on their strength:
1 mg = Pink
2 mg = Lavender
2.5 mg = Light green
3 mg = Tan/Brown
4 mg = Blue
5 mg = Peach
6 mg = Teal
7.5 mg = Yellow
10 mg = White
One popular mnemonic to remember this is “Please Let Granny Brown Bring Peaches To Your Wedding”. The 10 mg dose of warfarin (white) is also dye-free, and therefore would be safe in patients with any dye allergies (can cut in half for 5 mg or fourths for 2.5 mg strengths).
Another important drug with colors to remember is levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl):
25 mcg = Orange
50 mcg = White
75 mcg = Violet
88 mcg = Olive
100 mcg = Yellow
112 mcg = Rose
125 mcg = Brown
137 mcg = Turquoise
150 mcg = Blue
175 mcg = Lilac
200 mcg = Pink
300 mcg = Green
A popular mnemonic for this one is “Only White Violets Or Yellow Roses Bring Teachers Back Looking Pretty Glad,” whichever works best for you. Once more, the 50 mcg white tablet is dye-free.
And finally, the Ellipta devices are different colors based on which drugs are within them:
Anoro Ellipta (umeclidinium + vilanterol) = Red
Arnuity Ellipta (fluticasone) = Orange
Breo Ellipta (fluticasone + vilanterol) = Blue
Incruse Ellipta (umeclidinium) = Light green
Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone + umeclidinium + vilanterol) = Tan
No mnemonics here, but feel free to make your own.
Relevant NAPLEX Competencies:
2.2 – Commercial availability; prescription or non-prescription status; brand, generic, or biosimilar names; physical descriptions; or how supplied.
See everyone next week as we head into March!