But first, some background:
Pharmaceutical brand names take a lot of time and effort to develop— branding exercises, market research, etc. But generic names are created a little differently. Each class of drugs has its own approved suffix, or stem, so you can tell what kind of drug it is by looking at the end of the name. For instance: “azepam” is for anti-anxiety drugs like alprazolam and lorazepam; “mycin” is for certain types of antibiotics like azithromycin and erythromycin; and “statin” is for, you know, statins, like atorvastatin and simvastatin.
When a new drug is developed, the drug company creates a few generic name options with the appropriate stem. These options are submitted to the United States Adopted Names (USAN) council, a group that consists of members from the FDA, the AMA, the US Pharmacopeia (they maintain drug standards for the US in conjunction with the FDA), and the American Pharmacists Association. The USAN selects a generic name by taking into account ease of reading and pronunciation, potential for confusion with other drug names, and a bunch of other stuff.
I think it would be fun to be on this council but my main concern would be, “Is it fun to say?”
Click here if you’d like to see the complete USAN list of generic drug stems and their meanings, so you can smoke the competition during your next game of “What’s That Drug?”
And now, my list for today: my ten favorite generic drug names. You can find a fairly comprehensive list of generic names here. Please feel free to submit your own as well.