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Why medicines have tongue-twister names

world Updated: Jan 20, 2012 02:42 IST

The tongue-twisting generic names assigned to drugs are products of ‘stems’ that describe everything from a drugs’ function to its shape, a new study has revealed.

Until 1961 there was no standard for assigning drugs generic names, which are different from brand names like Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Nexium (esomeprazole) and Herceptin (trastuzumab). http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/200112/20-01-12-metro17b.jpg

That is when the US Adopted Names (USAN) Council was created to assign simplified alternatives to the names of drugs. For instance, the “-prazole” ending of Nexium’s generic name, esomeprazole, reveals that it is a type of antiulcer medication. Similar drugs will have the same stems in their names, allowing those familiar with the stems to crack the code.