A Medicine by Any Other Name . . .

Not being a very curious person, there are several subjects that endure in my list of ‘Enduring Mysteries’. But there is one mystery that is more irksome than enduring — Drug Names. I dont understand Drug Names. And I think this might be true for nine-tenths of the population. They challenge the tongue, they challenge the memory, and they challenge logic.

For instance, Citalopram is an anti-depressant which is known by different names in different countries — from Citalex, Citalec, Citalo (borrowing heavily) to the less related Cilate, Citrol to the completely unrelated Denyl, Estar or Vodelax. Now, Citalopram has FDA approval to treat major depression; is used in several countries to treat anxiety, panic disorders and even OCD. None of those names mentioned above do anything to suggest even remotely that this tablet might help me stop worrying, and could even put a smile on my face. Only in Argentina is the drug more suitably named — Humorup. I’m half-smiling already.

There are other examples.
Flatulex, is an anti-flatulence medicine. Suprenza, for medicine that suppresses the appetite. FatGo, for capsules that help you get thinner (no talk of effectiveness).

But perhaps my diagnosis and prescription are both premature.

Do pharmacists find it easier to distinguish between medicine brands when their names are based on the generic drug names? Meaning that Citalex is a great name for the generic drug Citalopram. While this would be a perfectly acceptable explanation for the weird names that drugs have, it doesn’t explain the name Vodelax for citalopram, or Calpol for paracetamol. And even if there is some sort of system and the pharmacist does understand this, why should this knowledge be kept protected from the patient by a layer of chemists and pharmacy chains? Consistently logical, easier-to-pronounce names based on a standard system would do the trick.

Only if pharma companies would agree.

PS: I look forward to names like PoopEasy, Anti-Pukacin and PhlegmExit.