Why are drug names long and complicated? Pharmacist explains the rationale behind the label :: InvestMacro

Written by Jasmine CutlerAnd the University of South Florida

At some point in your life, you will likely find yourself with a prescription from your doctor to fill. While it is important to keep track of all the medications you take, it can be difficult to do so when the names of many of these medications are difficult to pronounce and difficult to remember.

In my role as a pharmacistI helped countless patients know exactly what medication they were taking for any disease. Some wonder why the drug was prescribed to them in the first place, or need help distinguishing drugs with names that sound like complete bullshit.

But there is a rhyme and reason to the names of the drugs. All prescribed medications follow a standard label that describes what the drug is and how it works.

Who calls the drug?

Medicines get a brand name or a proprietary name and a generic name that is not proprietary. Each is set in a slightly different process.

As long as a drug compound is not a brand, drug companies decide to name a proprietary brand of the drug they are selling. The brand name is usually associated with the conditions the drug is intended to treat and is easy for both providers and patients to remember but does not follow standardized label guidelines. For example, the drug Lopressor helps lower blood pressure.

On the other hand, all generic drug names follow a standard nomenclature that helps medical providers and researchers more easily identify and classify the drug. Lopressor, for example, has the generic name for metoprolol tartrate. The Council of Accredited Names in the United Statesconsisting of representatives from the Food and Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the United States Pharmacopoeia, and the American Pharmacists Association, and works with World Health Organization to score International Nonproprietary Names, or International Nonproprietary Names, for pharmaceutical compounds. Similar organizations Existing internationally.

The globally recognized naming process makes the confusing name game more manageable. Helps the medical community easily learn and categorize newly approved drugs and reduce prescribing errors by providing a unique standard name that reflects each active ingredient in a drug.

For example, many type 2 diabetes medications fall into one category called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. Although all drugs in this class have different brand names, each generic version ends with the suffix “-tide.” This helps health providers identify all of the drugs that belong to this drug class. Some examples include Byetta (exenatide), Trulicity (dulaglutide), and Victoza (liraglutide).

How are generic drug names assigned?

The naming process It begins when a pharmaceutical company submits an application to the US Board of Accredited Names with a proposed generic name. USAN takes into account a number of factors when evaluating a name, such as whether it relates to how a drug works, how well it can be translated into other languages, and whether it’s easy to pronounce. In general, the name should be simple – less than four syllables – and should not be easily confused with other existing generics.

Once the name is approved by USAN and the pharmaceutical company, it is then proposed to INNN Expert Group. Sponsored by the World Health Organization, the INN Expert Group is comprised of world-class professionals representing the pharmaceutical, chemical, pharmaceutical and biochemical sciences. They can either accept the proposed name or suggest an alternative. Once the pharmaceutical company, USAN, and INN Expert Group reach agreement on the name, it is placed in WHO Journal of Drug Information Four months for public comments or objections before final approval.

What is in a generic drug name?

Generic names follow a prefix stem system. The prefix helps distinguish the drug from other drugs in the same class. Carnivores, used more often, additionally classify the drug. The stem at the end of the noun indicates the drug’s function and marks its place within the noun game.

legs It consists of one or two sections that describe the biological effects of the drug as well as its physical and chemical properties and structure. Medicines with the same stem share features such as the conditions they treat and how they work in the body. WHO publishes a regular update trunk book To keep everything in line.

For example, the stem “-prazole” indicates that the drug is chemically related to a class of compounds called benzimidazoles that have similar functions. As a result, medications such as lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium), and omeprazole (Prilosec) all treat acid reflux, ulcers, and heartburn. The “e” prefix distinguishes esomeprazole from omeprazole, which has a slightly different chemical structure.

Another common example is drugs that use ‘stat’, which stands for enzyme inhibitors. Atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor) belong to the same class of inhibitors that block a key enzyme in the body’s cholesterol production process. As a result, cholesterol-lowering “statins” are used to prevent cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

Are there exceptions to the name game?

Although the generic names remain consistent, there have been many of them Changes to brand names Over the past two decades after increases in the description and disbursement of errors. Some examples include the acid reflux and stomach ulcer drug omeprazole, which was rebranded from Losec to Prilosec because it was being confused with Lasix as a diuretic. Another example is when the antidepressant Brintellix was changed to Trintellix because it was being confused with the blood thinner Brilinta.

Some generic medicines may work in Multiple targets in the body It is used in many cases. For example, “-afil” stem drugs, such as tadalafil (Cialis), sidenafil (Viagra) and Vardenafil (Levitra), belong to a class of drugs that relax smooth muscles and widen blood vessels. Although they are commonly prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction, they can also be used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, a specific type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the heart and lungs.

In addition, naming guidelines not in stoneThe US Adopt Names Council expects that it will continue to change as newer and more complex materials are discovered, developed and commercialized.

For example, the rise in the number of drugs developed with different salts and esters has led to the use of a modified naming process to incorporate the inactive parts of the compound.

As you can guess, it takes health care providers countless months and years to learn and understand this naming process. We’ve learned the science behind each chemical structure and how they work, making it easy to learn the rules of the name game. But for those without a background in chemistry and biology, it can be like reading a foreign language.

However, there are many resources that can help you navigate the drug names game. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions about how your medicines work or what they are used for. Usually a phone call or a visit away.

About the author:

Jasmine CutlerAssistant Professor of Pharmacotherapy, University of South Florida

This article has been republished from Conversation Under a Creative Commons License. Read the original article.

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