Xanax and Zantac
August 29, 2013 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Why are pharmaceutical names so goofy?
posted by Chrysostom (135 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Aciphex.
posted by herrdoktor at 7:45 PM on August 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ablixa!
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:47 PM on August 29, 2013


Boindavera.

Interesting. I also imagine it would also help if it was easily googleable and would immediately be the first result on every conceivable avenue for searching online, which isn't going to nudge anyone towards being more easily deciphered.
posted by nevercalm at 7:47 PM on August 29, 2013


Is this the point when I mention having an ex-roommate who always used Xantec as a nick for everything?
posted by Samizdata at 7:52 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pretendatrin
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:53 PM on August 29, 2013


I always thought it was because big pharm marketers are secret Scrabble buffs. (Just a moment, I need to take 50 mg Kwijybo.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Worcestershirex
posted by planetesimal at 7:55 PM on August 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


Effexor is still my favorite. It sounds like a medication for ejeet haXX0rz.

Are you having trouble being T3H H4X lately?
posted by emptythought at 7:55 PM on August 29, 2013 [26 favorites]


oneswellfoop: "Pretendatrin "

Is that the drug for the disease that comes with the hot chick and the puppy?
posted by Samizdata at 7:56 PM on August 29, 2013


Ok, drug names haha, but freaking Qnasl (!) really beggars belief.
posted by threeants at 7:56 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


AIDS?
posted by slater at 7:56 PM on August 29, 2013


Fun fact: The original marketing strategy for RU486 was going to be to name it "Babycillin"
posted by Renoroc at 8:00 PM on August 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


The important thing when naming a drug is that it should plausibly sound like a character in the Shannara Trilogy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:01 PM on August 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


My favourite drug name is Abilify because it sounds like something George W Bush would have said blunderingly. "Unless we abilify children with job knowledge we will not prosper as a nation. We must abilify them at every turn!"
posted by looli at 8:01 PM on August 29, 2013 [69 favorites]


Fun fact: The original marketing strategy for RU486 was going to be to name it "Babycillin"

I SO wanted this to be true, and now I am incredibly let down. I guess it's a double dose of disappointerezedetrex for me tonight. Sigh. A.
posted by nevercalm at 8:07 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Pretendatrin

A cure for Munchausen's disease?
posted by yoink at 8:08 PM on August 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


Xannathor
And the making of.
posted by poe at 8:09 PM on August 29, 2013


When life gets you down, take ignorital - see video
posted by lalochezia at 8:10 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw a commercial for Xeljanz a few weeks ago and actually texted several people about it because I thought it was so hilarious.

They need to make a scrabble pharmaceutical edition.
posted by phunniemee at 8:11 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always thought Aubagio sounded like a half-baked Cirque du Soleil show.
posted by Anima Mundi at 8:14 PM on August 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


They need to make a scrabble pharmaceutical edition.

I just turned to my partner and said "Hey, how do you spell xeljanz"

"Uhhhh.... can you use it in a sentence"

"Xeljanz is really hard to spell"

"HAHAH HEY... uh, does it start with an X?"

I would play the shit out of this game.
posted by emptythought at 8:15 PM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I always thought Aubagio sounded like a half-baked Cirque du Soleil show.

Followed by a limited engagement of Garlique.
posted by threeants at 8:16 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


herrdoktor: Aciphex.

Technically, it's AcipHex, with a pH in the middle. Because it's used to treat acid reflux, you see.
posted by themanwho at 8:18 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Drugs are named after the alien overlord you believe yourself to be after an overdose.
posted by JHarris at 8:18 PM on August 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


Fun fact: The original marketing strategy for RU486 was going to be to name it "Babycillin"

It always makes me think of RuPaul, which makes sense, I guess. She's not getting pregnant anytime soon.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:18 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Gotta love the fake ones for herbal remedies designed to look like medication, like the magic fat-buster pill "Lipozene," which is just glucomannan with a ludicrous price tag.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:18 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's about the finest bullshit line anyone has laid on a gullible journalist. "Straight to the science!" my ass - Xalkori is a homophone for Valkyrie.

Bad ass, something to do with warriors killing shit heroically, no-one knows how the hell you pronounce an "X" at the beginning of a word anyhow, it looks like a "v" on stilts, so there you go. That's the alpha and omega of it. In the words of Don Draper - It's toasted!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:23 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Close Slap*Happy, that was my immediate read too -- but Valkyries carry the soldiers slain in battle to Valhalla. Which is to say, if you get that type of lung cancer, you're probably toast.
posted by sibboleth at 8:24 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know that, I know that, everyone else thinks of the fat ladies from the opera Bugs Bunny cartoon charging on winged horses with spears.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:26 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


My very excellent nursing pharmacology textbook was quite critical of this practice. The author used this analogy:

Imagine if Green Giant peas had a special name, say, "Gorbs", and Ore Ida peas had another name, say, "Greeballs". First of all, how fucking ridiculous. Second of all, you don't know what the hell you're buying in the grocery store.

Maybe he didn't word it exactly this way.
posted by latkes at 8:26 PM on August 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


Dangerous... LIKE AN 80s CARTOON VILLAIN!
posted by symbioid at 8:36 PM on August 29, 2013


Technically, it's AcipHex, with a pH in the middle. Because it's used to treat acid reflux, you see.

OHHhhhhhhh! (Slaps forehead).
posted by yoink at 8:37 PM on August 29, 2013


Also: Ceephax Acid Crew
posted by symbioid at 8:39 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think "Head On" has a pretty straightforward name.
posted by kiltedtaco at 8:40 PM on August 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


I always thought the new names threw an X,Y,Z, or Q somewhere in the front and then stabbed a vowel on the end. Or an N.

Or Fidelino. Take two and call me in the morning.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:44 PM on August 29, 2013


"While this might make short-term sense, Leben says the companies using this strategy miss out on crafting a brand name that can retain value for the life of the drug, even after its patent expires. “Like one’s choice of words when introducing a friend, a brand name can communicate so much,” Leben says."

Looks like someone is trying to sell their own efforts at branding. Metabranding, I guess. "No no no - computers don't have the rarefied touch of a master xenoglopher!"
posted by symbioid at 8:47 PM on August 29, 2013


I can't tell the difference between mainstream news reporting and satire anymore.

These names are extensively tested in focus groups, it has everything to do with marketing dogma and nothing to do with anything related to science. And it finishes with some oncologist going gosh I guess I believe the FDA when they say it's just a coincidence all these cancer drugs start with X and Z and Q.

Cue shocked, bitter laughter on this side of the telescreen.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 8:49 PM on August 29, 2013


Or Fidelino. Take two and call me in the morning.

Fidelino: always loyal!
posted by threeants at 8:53 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Arthur still carried a copy of The Hitch Hiker's
Guide to the Galaxy with him but found, when he consulted
it, that the entries were becoming more abstruse and paranoid
and had lots of x's and j's and {'s in them. Something was wrong
somewhere. Whether it was in his own personal unit, or whether
it was something or someone going terribly amiss, or perhaps just
hallucinating, at the heart of the Guide organisation itself, he
didn't know." --Douglas Adams, /Mostly Harmless/
posted by oonh at 8:54 PM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


"If cancer patients think they’re taking Neulasta to boost their immune system after chemotherapy, but they’re unwittingly taking the sleeping pill Lunesta instead, that can have serious consequences. "

(sorry to spam this thread)...

So - why not have a "two factor authentication". It's not perfect, and I know that it would sort of violate patient/doctor confidentiality in some ways (depending on the medication), but if you "Lunesta" and "Neulasta" and they are confused frequently, then why not have an addendum to the RX, "cancer" or "sleeping" for example.

"Lunesta 150mg 1xnight FOR SLEEP"
"Neulasta 150mg 3xday FOR CANCER"

Then if someone sees "cancer" they'd hesitate to fill an rx with Lunesta... ?
posted by symbioid at 8:55 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty sure Ambien comes from AM (morning) + bien (good), so it's a sleep drug named "good morning".
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:01 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I for one will never get over my rage about the birth control pill with my name. WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS. WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA. Yasmin is an actual name! And not even a particularly exotic or weird one! Seriously, no one ever wants to say their name and have the response be, "oh, like the birth control pill?" NO ONE.

And the drug has nothing to do with jasmine flowers either! I'm sure the reason for this name is some bullshit marketing ploy like, "your birth control should sound like your friend, not something alienating like orthotricycline!" But ugh, it is birth control, we don't need it to be relatable and friendly. Please stick to goofy incomprehensible names and chemical compounds for drug names. The Yasmins and Allegras of the world thank you.
posted by yasaman at 9:04 PM on August 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


Nasalcrom.
posted by sourwookie at 9:10 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


"your birth control should sound like your friend, not something alienating like orthotricycline!"

Ask your doctor if Baby Repeller Formula 16 is right for you.
posted by phunniemee at 9:13 PM on August 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


Augmentin sounds like a penis extender, frankly.
posted by SPrintF at 9:13 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find that Xanax works almost as well as Zantac for my heartburn.
posted by not_on_display at 9:19 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Yes, but it's not about slavery, it's about helping kids concentrate." - The Simpsons
posted by blue_beetle at 9:32 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The article made me think of Progenitorivox.
posted by immlass at 9:33 PM on August 29, 2013


I really like clopidogrel even more than its marketing name (Plavix). It evokes dogs with hooves.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:36 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Smegmatane
posted by planetesimal at 9:43 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really like clopidogrel even more than its marketing name (Plavix). It evokes dogs with hooves.

Or shitty poetry about horses' hooves.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:44 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just as long as it scans OK for Dr Tobias Funke's 100% Natural Good-Time Family Band Solution.

"There's no 'i' in Teamocil, at least not where you think..."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:44 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fukitol.
posted by pompomtom at 9:49 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was disappointed not to get a free sheep with a tube of Lamisil.
posted by arcticseal at 9:51 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


AIDS?

AYDS
posted by Zerowensboring at 10:13 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Baby Repeller Formula 16

I would be friends with someone named Baby Repeller Formula 16
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:22 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really like clopidogrel even more than its marketing name (Plavix). It evokes dogs with hooves.
Or shitty poetry about horses' hooves.


Or some of the more disturbing Brony fanfiction.

You guys might not know this, but I have a secret power. Well I have several but this one is relevant, namely, I can make up medicine names out of thin air. Observe:

Flarpinak
Prostibum
Rlerbinoop
Yhernapab
Oomisteex

See? Right off the top of my head! Impressive isn't--

Wait a moment, sorry, I get my secret talents mixed up. I was using my ability to make up Cthulhu Mythos entities, my error.
posted by JHarris at 10:22 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe 10 years ago I came up with a very marketable name for a prescription antidepressant:

Nysonol - as in, it makes you feel "nice and all" - I labeled it as an "Avoidance Enhancer"

So in the hopes of one day selling it off, I immediately bought the .com domain name and used it in the meantime for several years to collect and show some early weirdness from the web - it looks horribly dated now, and has been idle for a while, and it needs a total rewrite that I'll be getting to soon. (Yes, that site sucks, but this was before PHP became so standard - I think I was using GoLive at the time. Apologies. It was a much more simple, naive time back then.)

So, any pharmaceutical corporations interested out there wanna make a deal?
posted by chambers at 10:39 PM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


herrdoktor: Aciphex.

Technically, it's AcipHex, with a pH in the middle. Because it's used to treat acid reflux, you see.
posted by themanwho at 23:18 on August 29 [+] [!]

Yeah, I know. It's just that any GI-related drug should not sound like "ass effects."
posted by herrdoktor at 10:42 PM on August 29, 2013 [17 favorites]


If your circle of friends is unfamiliar with Pokemon, and they don't work in mental health, let me suggest a rousing game of: Pokemon or anti-psychotic?

p1: "Okay... Cyndaquil."

p2: "That's gotta be a drug."

p1: "Bzzt! No, Seroquel is an anti-psychotic... Cyndaquil is a Pokemon."

p2: "Rats! Hit me again."

p1: "Oookay... Geodon?"

p2: "Crap, sounds like a dinosaur, gotta be a Pokemon."

p1: "Bzzt! Sorry, no, Geodon is an anti-psychotic. Geodude is a Pokemon."

Hours of fun. Try it at home!
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 10:49 PM on August 29, 2013 [63 favorites]


I would take a medication called Geodude.
posted by No-sword at 10:53 PM on August 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


Seriously though, what's the disease with the hot chick and puppy?
posted by Samizdata at 11:22 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wordlab's Drug-o-Matic Name Generator.
Quaap's Prescription Drug Name Generator, complete with side effects.
Seventh Sanctum's Medication [pill] Generator

Suck it, big pharma! The internet wins this round.
posted by not_on_display at 11:38 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Gleemonex.
posted by mynameisluka at 12:17 AM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I often like to exclaim "plavix!" in the manner of Professor Frink.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:55 AM on August 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought Xanax was supposed to be some kind of clusterfuck of the word "Anxiety".
posted by Redfield at 12:59 AM on August 30, 2013


Many years ago I was prescribed Abilify and I actually chuckled and the doctor just kind of looked at me. I don't think he got it. Also, I thought for a moment he was just kidding.
posted by sio42 at 1:25 AM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


They put the generic name and not the brand-name on prescriptions here, so even if my box says Seroquel, my prescription will say quetiapine. This is a bit of a pain when I use mood-tracker apps or info websites based in the US and I can't remember if I take Zoloft, Celexa or Queegsmeg.
posted by mippy at 1:40 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Then if someone sees "cancer" they'd hesitate to fill an rx with Lunesta... ?

Yeah. Some names of unrelated drugs are unhelpfully similar. My idiot doctor gave me a prescription for Mercaptamine instead of Mercaptopurine. They are not at all the same thing, but if the first pharmacist I went to had happened to have Mercaptamine I would most likely have taken it without asking any questions, and that would not have done me any good at all.

The original mistake was sort of understandable but the worst thing is that when I went back his first reaction was to tell me not to worry, it was just a variant brand name. I had to ask him through gritted teeth to look it the fuck up. Then his reaction was, oh yeah, sorry, but anyway we can't prescribe Mercaptopurine. You'll have to go to the hospital.

Ah, the NHS.
posted by Segundus at 1:47 AM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Drugs are named after the alien overlord you believe yourself to be after an overdose.

Ooooh, we'd better get you on a regimen of Exxon right away. It has some minor side effects*, but is very effective in restoring useful delusions normal outlook.


* Will May cause anal leakage, staining, objectionable odors, excessive gas, fever, wildlife depletion, asthma, or foreign war.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:40 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is a more detailed piece on drug naming that by Interbrand, mentioned in the FPP. From them:
The FDA began reviewing drug names beginning in the early 1990’s. However, it was a landmark report published in 1999 by the Institute of Medicine, linking drug name similarity to medication error, that led the FDA to increase its attention to and oversight of this part of the overall drug
approval process. EMEA began examining “invented” names in 1995 and set up a specific working group to oversee the process in 1999. Both agencies initiated proprietary nomenclature assessment in the interest of public health and safety. This was based on the belief that names that sound alike or look alike can cause confusion, and in the worst cases, lead to medication error. Both FDA and EMEA share similar philosophies about proposed drug names.

In general, they should not be: phonetically or visually similar to existing drug names or names pending approval, encode or be similar to generic/INN nomenclature, or convey promotional, misleading, unsubstantiated, or inappropriate claims.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:09 AM on August 30, 2013


Drugs are named after the alien overlord you believe yourself to be after an overdose.

Are you implying that I'm NOT Lord Zinyak?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:48 AM on August 30, 2013


I have a new rule of thumb: for any MF post which links to a Slate article the comments here will be significantly more interesting and witty than the linked article itself.
posted by Agave at 3:48 AM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


The brand name is almost always fewer syllables and easier to pronounce than the generic name.
posted by klarck at 4:54 AM on August 30, 2013


When I worked at Lilly, they were waiting for approval for a drug they had named Zovant. It was a treatment for sepsis and one of the few drugs in their pipeline. Internally, most of us informally called it by its lab name: Activated Protein C. At the last minute, the FDA rejected the name Zovant and it was renamed Xigris. By this time, there were all kinds of documents, posters and other internal and external promotional materials. All of them had to be changed or destroyed. It was kind of like the scene in 1984 when the banners switched as the enemy changed-but-was-always-the-same. People were running around like headless chickens. It was imperative that nothing with the Zovant name ever get externally released and that it was not to be used internally, either. We continued to informally call it Activated Protein C.

Why haven't you heard of Xigris? It was a failure. It was pulled in 2011 after 9 years on the market. It never sold well because it didn't work. This press release says it all:

Eli Lilly and Company announces withdrawal of its Xigris(R) [drotrecogin alfa (activated)] product in all markets following results of the PROWESS-SHOCK study, which showed the study did not meet the primary endpoint of a statistically significant reduction in 28-day all-cause mortality in patients with septic shock. The company is working with regulatory agencies on this withdrawal, and is in the process of notifying health care professionals and clinical trial investigators.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:10 AM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


schoolgirl report: I often like to exclaim "plavix!" in the manner of Professor Frink.

I am a purchasing manager at a Pharmacy and I don't think I have ever said Plavix without immediately repeating it in my head in a Frinky voice.

Some other fun drug names off the top of my head (mostly generic names):
  • alprazolam (I think I went to school with him)
  • levetiracetam (A lesser-known Harry Potter spell)
  • misoprostol (An abortifacient, so it is very inappropriate that it always makes me think of the offensive 2 Live Crew song "Me So Horny")
  • mycophenolate mofetil (a co-worker and I think that would make a great baby name -- Mycophenolate Mofetil Jones, Mike for short)
  • sotalol (LOL)
posted by Rock Steady at 5:17 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Speed!
posted by spitbull at 5:44 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eli Lilly and Company announces withdrawal of its Xigris(R) [drotrecogin alfa (activated)] product in all markets following results of the PROWESS-SHOCK study

Hold up, who comes up with the study names? It sounds like an atmospheric nuke test from the 1960s.
posted by theodolite at 5:50 AM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Fartphlex
Bütsecs
Xuxdix
posted by oceanjesse at 5:58 AM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Recently I was at that part of a doctor visit where you tell what new drugs other doctors have put you on since you were there last. I usually bring a printed list to avoid just this situation, but it was only the one, so when I realized I'd forgotten the list I figured I'd be OK. Then, the doctor asked, "How do you spell that?"

I really, really wanted to answer, "I don't."

But he found it in his database before the maximum hem-haw period passed.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:09 AM on August 30, 2013


Do not taunt Panexa.

(Does anyone else remember this? It's from mid-90s I think, and it's still one of the funniest drug spoofs I've ever seen.)
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:10 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think drugs should be named like half naked battle axe swinging barbarians.

Valtrax
Lipitor
posted by idiopath at 6:22 AM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I always got a chuckle out of the chemical name for Cialis, the erectile dysfunctional drug. Someone clever got the molecule named tadalafil.

Ta-Daaaaaaa! Boner!
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:40 AM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


following results of the PROWESS-SHOCK study

Even aside from wacky drug names, clinical trial title are their own special type of absurdity. Acronym abuse is probably the biggest problem. Perhaps you'd care to join one of the more than a dozen trials called HEART? Or maybe the BRAVO, BOLD, or SPIRIT trials? That last one should not be confused with the device trial of the same name, since device manufacturers love to all-cap their gadget's name, such as in the SAMURAI trial (not to be confused with the trial using SAMURAI as an acronym).

A particularly egregious example I recently encountered were a pair of linked trials acronymed to HALF-PINT and CAF-PINT, which, when referring to both at the same time, are called the HALF-CAF trials.
posted by Panjandrum at 7:00 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wasn't that part of the BARISTA study?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:03 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have noticed and wondered about the "X" and "Z" sounds, which are so prevalent. I assume that they use them because they found out that this works, in some Strangelovian focus group testing.
The medicines all sound like bad guys in kids' cartoons: "You won't get away with this, Zocor! Power up!"
posted by thelonius at 7:18 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


It sounds like an atmospheric nuke test from the 1960s.

Please select which "clinical" test you want to participate in:
BUSTER-JANGLES
PROWESS-SHOCK
UPSHOT-KNOTHOLE
TUMBLER-SNAPPER

Pick wisely! Side effects may include upset stomach, dizziness, and total annihilation.
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:33 AM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I always, always refer to prescription drugs by their generic names. Because, fuck pharmaceutical companies and their marketing.

However, I do sometimes refer to benzos as "tranquilizers", opiates as "heroin", and stimulants as "uppers", just to underscore to patients what they're getting themselves into. Not that I ever prescribe these things.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:33 AM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would take a medication called Geodude.

I'm a little bit worried about this "Dudeskull" medication, guys.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:34 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dudebromine
posted by planetesimal at 7:40 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fukitol.
posted by pompomtom at 9:49 PM on August 29
Now available as generic: placeberol
posted by Blue_Villain at 7:51 AM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some of my personal favorites (that are real)

Brompheniramine and Dexbrompheniramine (may or may not cause date-rapey-ness)
Oxymetazoline (this is either a fuel additive for your car or an all metal LP collection, I think)
Hydroxytryptophan (always makes me think of a turkey flavored at-home cola making kit)
Baby Anti Monkey Butt Cream (and this is a trademarked name, I might add)
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:05 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


PROWESS-SHOCK sounds like something from the Laundry. I think it was the case right before NIGHTMARE GREEN i think.
posted by sio42 at 8:28 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I giggle to myself uncontrollably whenever Nasalcrom comes up. It could be the worst allergy spray ever made, I don't know, but my Simpsons-watching roommates and I kept it stocked solely for the amusement value.
posted by invitapriore at 9:10 AM on August 30, 2013


Xexistencilol
posted by oceanjesse at 9:13 AM on August 30, 2013


I would take a medication called Geodude.

In my head, this is pronounced in the same manner as Geoduck.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:18 AM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Symptomatic of a purely scientific approach to language without much consideration of meaning, history or culture. As we further diminish humanities instruction, we can expect more of this abuse of language. (My two cents as a curmudgeonly scholar of literature.)
posted by smrtsch at 10:00 AM on August 30, 2013


During development, Somerset Pharmaceuticals was going back and forth with the FDA trying to come up with a suitable name for their Parkinson's drug. They had a list a candidates they were steadily narrowing down. Towards the end, a new name appeared on the list. That was the one they ultimately went with. The name was Emsam.

Turns out it was a combination of two names: Emily and Sam, the kids of the CEO.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:09 AM on August 30, 2013


Also, Geodon = earth + down, or "down to earth". It's an antipsychotic.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:10 AM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favourite drug name is Abilify

I saw an ad for it, as an anti-depressant catalyst, sort of. Looked it up - it's been around as an "anti-psychotic", which is a term of art, I guess. That sounds kind of scary to just toss down the hatch because the Wellbutrin isn't working. Then I saw it in action - a neurologist gave it to my stepdad, who was having sudden memory loss, a quick onset of other dementia-like symptoms, and depression, along with some other medications, and wow, what a difference. It has given him now an entire year of good quality of life, not at his old self, but holding at a manageable level. It's powerful stuff.
posted by thelonius at 12:05 PM on August 30, 2013


Abilify really does sound like a Harry Potter spell.

Ask your doctor if Sectumsempra is right for you.
posted by Foosnark at 12:53 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Spongebobanol
posted by planetesimal at 1:07 PM on August 30, 2013


However, I do sometimes refer to benzos as "tranquilizers", opiates as "heroin", and stimulants as "uppers", just to underscore to patients what they're getting themselves into. Not that I ever prescribe these things.

So you have never had a patient with acute debilitating anxiety, chronic pain or any form of adhd?
posted by PissOnYourParade at 3:16 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Abilify commercials are a riot. Half or more of the runtime is this guy listing off increasingly hilariously horrible side effects.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:33 PM on August 30, 2013


BrunoLatourFanclub: "If your circle of friends is unfamiliar with Pokemon, and they don't work in mental health, let me suggest a rousing game of: Pokemon or anti-psychotic?"

I am turning this into a round for the pub trivia company I freelance for. I totally owe you a beer.
posted by not_on_display at 4:42 PM on August 30, 2013


Half or more of the runtime is this guy listing off increasingly hilariously horrible side effects.

That's like half the medicine commercials on the air now. The greatest thing about them, besides being told "if you have weird thoughts call a doctor," is the pictures of puppies and flowers and sunsets and such they show behind the ceremonial Reading Of The Side-Effects. It's like an SNL commercial sketch made real.
posted by JHarris at 4:54 PM on August 30, 2013


Do not taunt Happy Fun Abilify.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:09 PM on August 30, 2013


Anymore, it always seems like one of the side effects is, D.) Making the symptoms you're taking it for in the first place much, much worse.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:30 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, remember when it came out that while SSRIs do a lot of good for many people, for a small number it makes things infinitely worse? Discovering that I'm part of that latter group was way fun.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:53 PM on August 30, 2013


My composition teacher told me about an art opening he attended where the most memorable piece was a room with three TVs in it, all of which were playing three different well-edited compilations of just the part of drug commercials where the narrator reads off the side effects at auctioneer speeds. He said it scared the shit out of him.
posted by invitapriore at 6:06 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]




In high school I came in first in the state on a Merck-sponsored Earth/Space Science test and got to tour Merck HQ. One of the things I remember from the tour was a lecture that explained the logic behind drug brand naming. The point was basically 1) to use the letters X and Z a lot because those letters are "scientific"; 2) to come up with a drug name that sounds like the condition it's supposed to treat; and 3) to avoid names that are dirty words in other languages.

There's a big marketing budget for this stuff, so believe it or not, those names are the better ones...
posted by subdee at 9:34 PM on August 30, 2013


I really hate to be "that guy" and come down on the side of the mega wealthy drug companies, but: I challenge you to name some other industry constantly creating tons of new, independent products where the names aren't smoothed phonemes + half-hearted product-logic etymology.

Unrelated but what the hell kind of awesome names will the fecal transplant pills have? I'm thinking a gardening/pastoral theme could be safe -- Mulchor, Harvesta, Poopstoolz, etc
posted by serif at 12:02 AM on August 31, 2013


Crapitor.
posted by JHarris at 1:11 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shittify.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:43 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Poopenol
Fecacet
Excretinax
Dungadril
Scatzac
posted by JHarris at 3:53 AM on August 31, 2013


Poobien.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:27 AM on August 31, 2013


I challenge you to name some other industry constantly creating tons of new, independent products where the names aren't smoothed phonemes + half-hearted product-logic etymology.

I started compiling a list and got a good number down until I realized I should be arguing the opposite -- I challenge you to come up with a few other industries that do go to the extremes of medicine naming.
posted by JHarris at 2:42 PM on August 31, 2013


I always thought Aubagio sounded like a half-baked Cirque du Soleil show.

Or a nice Italian cheese.
posted by Evilspork at 2:46 PM on August 31, 2013


I challenge you to come up with a few other industries that do go to the extremes of medicine naming.

Auto industry? Elantra, Tercel, Evoque, XJL, M3, LeBaron, Fiero, etc.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:08 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


JHarris, which industries were on your list?

And yeah, Rock Steady, car naming is pretty close to medicine naming, although it's easier for the auto makers -- cars all basically do the same thing, but pharma molecules don't.
posted by serif at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2013


The thing is, naming cars some absurd whimsical cock-invoking bullshit isn't dangerous. I mean, cars are dangerous no matter what you call them, but confusing a Corolla with a Corona won't kill anyone.
posted by latkes at 7:22 PM on August 31, 2013


Auto industry? Elantra, Tercel, Evoque, XJL, M3, LeBaron, Fiero, etc.

I was thinking about the cheese industry. The paper industry. The pencil industry. Furniture, unless you count Ikea, but that doesn't exactly fit. Tropical fish. Roll D100 on the Random Industry Table and you aren't going to get something named as egregiously as medicine.

There are tons of industries out there that don't feel like they have to go to these lengths. Even the automotive industry frequently squeezes out a car with a good old English name -- "LeBaron," for example, is a hell of a lot clearer than Zantac.
posted by JHarris at 7:31 PM on August 31, 2013


I mean, cars are dangerous no matter what you call them, but confusing a Corolla with a Corona won't kill anyone.

Yet there are examples in the article that the current system doesn't prevent confusion, that similarly-named medicines still slip through the cracks. And one might make the argument that, given their importance and how doctors should be prescribing these things based on conditions and not influenced by marketing pressure, medicine shouldn't be given trade names or brands at all.
posted by JHarris at 7:33 PM on August 31, 2013


cars are dangerous no matter what you call them, but confusing a Corolla with a Corona won't kill anyone

I had a friend die when he tried to drink a Corolla, you monster.

In retrospect, we ought to have clued in when he shoved a lime wedge up the tailpipe.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:56 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was thinking about the cheese industry. The paper industry. The pencil industry. Furniture, unless you count Ikea, but that doesn't exactly fit. Tropical fish. Roll D100 on the Random Industry Table and you aren't going to get something named as egregiously as medicine.

OK maybe I'm confused here -- how is "Xantac" any more egregious than "Cheddar" or "Gobie"?
posted by serif at 10:20 PM on August 31, 2013


My favourite drug name is Abilify

But what did they do to the sad umbrella? Just thinking about that poor, lonely umbrella makes me sad...
posted by homunculus at 11:34 PM on August 31, 2013


Cheeses are frequently named after the region that invented them. Cheddar is named after the English village of Cheddar. I don't know what cheese you mean by "Gobie."
posted by JHarris at 11:42 PM on August 31, 2013


Both Zantac and Xanax make me think of Anthrax. And I always assumed Pantene was for color-treated hair because of Pantone.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:59 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


SSRIs are crap IMHO. Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic that helps people with bipolar disorder without them having to admit they are bipolar. The same goes for using seroquel in addition to an SSRI. Many people don't respond well to SSRIs alone because they are more bipolar than they are just depressed. We aren't talking classic bipolar with full mania but if your depression just keeps coming back or lasts more than three months and repeats throughout your life, you might be on the spectrum.

Me? Never will touch an SSRI. Abilify made me feel aphasic and slow witted. Lamictal is my friend.
posted by lordaych at 8:44 AM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also if you have non classical bipolar without mania, taking SSRI drugs without a mood stabilizer (antipsychotic or antiseizure like lamictal) you might learn what full mania is like sooner rather than later. I've never touched an SSRI and I've never touched ecstasy. Dopamine, anandamide, endorphins? I've fucked with those, I'm stopping short of serotonin.
posted by lordaych at 8:48 AM on September 1, 2013


Also I am full bipolar, I just didn't think there was anything wrong with needing two hours of sleep and thinking I was the master of all reality and that the police were reading my thoughts to make sure I didn't figure out that I was the Holy projector of all reality. But recurring treatment resistant depression is often more than "just" depression and it was that depression that fucked me up functionally enough to get a diagnosis. The mania seemed harmless but my parents did a good job instilling enough mortal terror that I never did much more with the mania self destruction wise than blow hundreds of dollars on stupid shit like lapdances and less stupid shit like tons of scotch
posted by lordaych at 8:55 AM on September 1, 2013


Also I like the names JANUVIA and XELJANZ quite a bit. I joked about the name Abilify and the commercials a lot until I was the mofo taking it and staring at the mirror like SHOULD I MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A CAR WRECK OR DO I STAND A CHANCE OF HURTING TEH INNOCENT. WELL, NOBODY IS REALLY INNOCENT EXCEPT KIDS. OH YEAH I HAVE THOSE
posted by lordaych at 9:00 AM on September 1, 2013


medicine shouldn't be given trade names or brands at all.

I am in complete agreement with this sentiment.
posted by latkes at 5:12 PM on September 1, 2013


The trouble then is the problem the unique trade names address.

Example: Methadone, methedrone, mephedrone, methylone, and methedrine. One of these things is not like the others!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:51 PM on September 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


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