Friday, January 18, 2008

Fluoxoperidonacaine: How drugs get their name

Ladyk73 (aka LadyAK47) asked a while back about how drugs get their names.
Hello there! I have a question!!!!!!
(I can imagine Roy crawling into the dungeons of some long-lost medical library somewhere to find the answer to this)

Anyways, this is really bothering me.

When I was a C-/D+ pharmacy student, one of the few things I learned was that there was some sort of nomenclature that was used to name drugs. The generic/chemical name, not those fancy drug pushers name....

Why does Trazodone have an -one suffix? As in a whole lot of corticosteriods end in -one.
What does the -one in trazadone stand for? Or does any of the name can be explained by nomenclature ways?
Great question!  Glad you asked...

The drug names are all decided by Tony, Bill, David, Peter, and Darin.

These are the most recent members of the USAN, the United States Adopted Name Council.  This is a 5-member organization consisting of representatives from the AMA, APhA, USP, FDA, and a member-at-large.  USAN works with the World Health Organization to come up with rules for naming drugs, and agrees on new drug names after the manufacturer applies for a new name (usually after submitting the drug to the FDA as an IND (Investigational New Drug).

There is a list of rules for naming drugs, typically based on their chemical structure, their therapeutic indication, or their mechanism of action.  Examples:

a.  The name for the active moiety of a drug should be a single word, preferably with no more than four syllables.
b.  The name for the active moiety may be modified by a single term, preferably with no more than four syllables, to show a chemical modification, such as salt or ester formation.  Examples can include cortisone acetate from cortisone, cefamandole sodium from cefamandole or erythromycin acistrate from erythromycin.
c.  Only under compelling circumstances is a name with more than one modifying term acceptable.  Compelling circumstances may pertain to such examples as pharmaceuticals containing radioactive isotopes or the different classes of interferons.
d.  Acronyms, initials and condensed words may be acceptable in otherwise appropriate terminology.

To see the entire list of rules, go to this .pdf, the USAN Stem List.  Examples:


serotonin 5-HT2 receptor antagonists altanserin, tropanserin, adatanserin 
-azepamantianxiety agents (diazepam type) lorazepam 

-peridol antipsychotics (haloperidol type) haloperidol 
-peridone antipsychotics (risperidone type) risperidone, iloperidone 
-perone antianxiety agents/neuroleptics duoperone  
-pezil acetylcholinesterase inhibitors used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease donepezil , icopezil
-pidem hypnotics/sedatives (zolpidem type) zolpidem alpidem 
-pirdine cognition enhancers linopirdine, besipirdine, sibopirdine


Anonymous said...

I find this stuff fascinating. I am still wondering about aripiprazole, which is neither an antifungal (eg ketoconazole, clotrimazole) nor a stomach acid drug (eg omeprazole), yet sounds like one...

Ladyk73 said...

So cool! Thank you!
By the way, how can I get some
"-pirdine cognition enhancers?"

I think I could use some!