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Drug Nomenclature - why they are named what they are and what does it tell about the drugs themselves?

DRUG NOMENCLATURE:

 

The prefixes and infixes have no pharmacological significance and are used to separate the drug from others in the same class. Suffixes or stems may be found in the middle or more often the end of the drug name, and normally suggest the action of the drug. Generic names often have suffixes that define what class the drug is.[2]

See also Time release technology > List of abbreviations for formulation suffixes.

List of drug name stems and affixes

More comprehensive lists can be found at the National Library of Medicine's Drug Information Portal[7] or in Appendix VII of the USP Dictionary.

Stem

Drug class

Example

cef-

Cephem-type antibiotics

cefazolin

-zumab

humanized antibody[9]

natalizumabbevacizumab

-ximab

Chimeric antibody that responds to more than one antigen[2]

infliximab

-xaban

Direct Xa inhibitor

apixabanrivaroxaban

-vir

Antiviral drug[2]

aciclovir

-vec

Gene Therapy vectors

Alipogene tiparvovec

-vastatin

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor[2]

atorvastatin

-tinib

Tyrosine-kinase inhibitors[2]

erlotinibcrizotinib

-tide

Peptides and glycopeptides

NesiritideOctreotide

-sartan

Angiotensin receptor antagonists[2]

losartanvalsartan

-prost-

Prostaglandin analogue

latanoprostunoprostone

-pril

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor[2]

captoprillisinopril

-prazole

Proton-pump inhibitor[2]

omeprazole

-parib

PARP inhibitor

olaparibveliparib

-oxetine

Antidepressant related to fluoxetine[2]

duloxetinereboxetine

-oxacin

Quinolone-derived antibiotics

levofloxacinmoxifloxacin

-olol

Beta-blockers

metoprololatenolol

-mab

Monoclonal antibodies[2]

trastuzumabipilimumab

-lukast

Leukotriene receptor antagonists[2]

zafirlukastmontelukast

-ine

chemical substance

atropinequinine

-grel-

Platelet aggregation inhibitor[2]

clopidogrelticagrelor

-cillin

Penicillin-derived antibiotics

penicillincarbenicillinoxacillin[8]

-barb-

Barbiturates

Phenobarbitalsecobarbital

-axine

Dopamine and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor[2]

venlafaxine

-afil

Inhibitor of PDE5 with vasodilator action

sildenafiltadalafil


 

 

 

 

Additional Resources that helps in identifying drugs by name:

 

Every name has two main parts. The back half of the drug name is the same for all drugs in a particular class — for instance, there are a whole raft of cholesterol-lowering drugs that end in -vastatin: atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin (Zocor), and several others. Some other class suffixes include:

  • -oxetine for a class of antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • -sartan for a class of blood-pressure-lowering drugs, such as losartan (Cozaar)
  • -afil for a class of drugs used for erectile dysfunction, such as sildenafil (Viagra)
  • -lukast for a class of anti-asthma drugs, such as montelukast (Singulair)
  • -azepam for a class of anti-anxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium)
  • -coxib for a class of anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • -dronate for a class of drugs that prevent calcium loss, such as alendronate (Fosamax)
  • -formin for one class of diabetes drugs, such as metformin (Glucophage), and -glitazone for another class, such as rosiglitazone (Avandia)
  • -prazole for a class of stomach acid reducers, such as esomeprazole (Prilosec)
  • -conazole for a class of anti-fungals
  • -vir for antivirals, with a number of subclasses, including -amivirfor a class that includes the anti-flu drug zanamivir (Relenza), -ciclovir for a class that treats herpes (such as famciclovir (Famvir)), and ­-navir for antiretrovirals for HIV treatment, such as indinavir (Crixivan)
  • -stat for enzyme inhibitors, with a whole bunch of subclasses — for instance, -becestat means it's a beta secretase inhibitor (doesn't that help you? It would if you were a pharmacist)

 

http://denalirx.com/all-about-drugs/  GREAT free resource!  It has games and short drug quizzes