How do they come up with these new drug brand names?

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  • #1
berkeman
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Do they use some sort of an AI program with a random character generator attached? My goodness -- I just saw this drug advertised on TV, and it reminded me that drug brand names seem so random (and usually hard to remember)... I'd name my new drugs more like "BestDigest" and "BannishAFib" or similar... o0)

https://www.entyvio.com/entyvio-connect?utm_source=GOOGLE&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Entyvio Patient - Branded - Entyvio&utm_content=Entyvio [E]&utm_term=entyvio&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0KPA06T02QIVjrXACh0hJQQuEAAYASAAEgJbMPD_BwE
Uses of ENTYVIO® (vedolizumab)
ENTYVIO is a prescription medicine used in adults:

  • with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) when certain other UC medicines have not worked well enough or cannot be tolerated. ENTYVIO may help to: begin reducing some symptoms, induce and maintain remission, reduce or stop the use of corticosteroids, and improve the way the lining of your large intestine looks to your healthcare provider.
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  • #3
Ygggdrasil
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Drugs will actually have three names, an IUPAC name for the chemical compound, a generic name (because, often the IUPAC name would be much too long and complicated to be practical), and a brand name:
A branded prescription drug is actually known by three names.

The pharmaceutical company gives a new drug a chemical name based on a set of rules established by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

For any drug that will be marketed in the United States, the next step is obtaining a name from United States Adopted Name Council. It assigns the active ingredient of the drug a generic name, which must be cleared and reviewed by the International Nonproprietary Name program run by the World Health Organization.

"This step assures that there is one non-proprietary (generic) name throughout the world for the drug," explained Stephanie C. Shubat, director of the Adopted Name Council.

With the generic name settled, a pharmaceutical company proposes a brand name to the FDA, to mark the product as its own.

For example, an antidepressant is known in the lab by its chemical name: N-methyl-3-phenyl-3-[4-(trifluoromethyl) phenoxy]propan-1-amine. The generic name assigned to this complex chemical is fluoxetine. To the rest of us, the drug is commonly known as https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0010346/?report=details.
https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/25/health/art-of-drug-naming/index.html

Brand names generally will come from consultants that the pharmaceutical companies hire (see the CNN article linked above).
 
  • #4
Ygggdrasil
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I'd name my new drugs more like "BestDigest" and "BannishAFib" or similar... o0)
Unfortunately, this would likely be against FDA rules:
The FDA also rejects names that seem too fanciful or overstate a drug's effectiveness and puts the kibosh on names that might stigmatize a patient (or condition).

"If you are wanting to do metaphors that are life-affirming, and you want to think of things like trees or flowers or something strong like metal, you cannot do that, because it might suggest an ingredient," Teck noted.

https://www.cnn.com/2016/11/25/health/art-of-drug-naming/index.html
 
  • #5
berkeman
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Thanks @Ygggdrasil -- I'm still curious about the generic names that are chosen:
For any drug that will be marketed in the United States, the next step is obtaining a name from United States Adopted Name Council. It assigns the active ingredient of the drug a generic name, which must be cleared and reviewed by the International Nonproprietary Name program run by the World Health Organization.

"This step assures that there is one non-proprietary (generic) name throughout the world for the drug," explained Stephanie C. Shubat, director of the Adopted Name Council.
So many of the generic names are just letter salad to me (like the example I posted in my OP). Are they chosen using any type of strategy, like the Medical Terms that we learn and use? At least with standard Medical Terminology, I have a pretty good idea what a medical term ending in -itis or in -cillin will be about. Is there anything similar that is used for drug generic names that helps doctors and pharmacists to remember them and what they are for?
 
  • #6
Ygggdrasil
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There are some sets of rules for coming up with generic names. Usually, the last part of the drug name tells you something about the composition or use of the drug. For example, the drug you mention in the OP, vedolizumab, ends in -mab, which indicates that the drug is a monoclonal antibody and tells me a lot about how the drug might work and the requirements for dosing (e.g. needs to be delivered intravenously). Other monoclonal antibody drugs contain a similar ending despite being used for different purposes (trastuzumab [Herceptin] for treatment of breast cancer, adalimumab [Humira] as an anti-inflamatory). Other endings may indicate usage, for example, oseltamivir (Tamiflu for influenza), sofosbuvir (Sovaldi for Hep C), and Tenofovir disoproxil (Viread for HIV) are all antiviral drugs.
 
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  • #7
pinball1970
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Thanks @Ygggdrasil -- I'm still curious about the generic names that are chosen:

So many of the generic names are just letter salad to me (like the example I posted in my OP). Are they chosen using any type of strategy, like the Medical Terms that we learn and use? At least with standard Medical Terminology, I have a pretty good idea what a medical term ending in -itis or in -cillin will be about. Is there anything similar that is used for drug generic names that helps doctors and pharmacists to remember them and what they are for?

Some of these are quite clever, Salbutamol for asthma attacks tell one nothing about what it does but "Ventolin" gives a different story, "proventol" is not quite correct as it does not prevent anything (unless you count not breathing) but the name is still a good one as far as I am concerened. As stated by other posters, what it is and what it does.

On the other hand, sometimes the chemical name active agent is enough, If I had to nip to the chemist and the pharmacist called out my name to pick up my 30mg of Diltiazem hydrochloride Cream, I would be glad they used that name rather than its trade name, Ano-heal.
 
  • #8
berkeman
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for example, oseltamivir (Tamiflu for influenza), sofosbuvir (Sovaldi for Hep C), and Tenofovir disoproxil (Viread for HIV) are all antiviral drugs.
Interesting, thanks very much. I had a patient last weekend who mentioned a drug they were taking for HIV (I initially contacted him about some vertigo he was experiencing), and it seems like it ended in -vir. I should have tried harder to memorize what he said so I could look it up afterwards, but things were a bit busy at that point. :smile:
 
  • #9
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On the other hand, sometimes the chemical name active agent is enough, If I had to nip to the chemist and the pharmacist called out my name to pick up my 30mg of Diltiazem hydrochloride Cream...
Interesting... I use diltiazem as an anti-hypertensive, the oral route of course... . :oldsmile:
And... you're right about the problem area, non-oral route... . lol


Now, I guess I'll need to take a real good look at my graphic equaliser... I just do not remember seeing a setting for...
... increase basal anal tone ...

:biggrin: ...

.
 
  • #10
pinball1970
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Interesting, thanks very much. I had a patient last weekend who mentioned a drug they were taking for HIV (I initially contacted him about some vertigo he was experiencing), and it seems like it ended in -vir. I should have tried harder to memorize what he said so I could look it up afterwards, but things were a bit busy at that point.

Probably lots have that ending, Acyclovir Retrovir Tenofovir some to deal with the virus itself and others the opportunistics?

Acyclovir is a good name I think it tells one more about the drug than the commercial name Zovirax

I think the worst one I have heard Ibuleve – Ibuprofen gel for muscular skeletal pain

The “Ibu” I get, sounds like Ibuprofen but I Bu-leve?? Pronounced “Lea-ve?”


Do they think its sounds like “ I Believe?” What does that mean? “I believe Ibuprofen will work” I really Bu-leave it?


It will work because it is a decent anti-inflammatory no other reason.
 

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