Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

X,Y,Z, and Sometimes V

Prescription drugs in these United States have more than one name.  As a general rule, a drug is given an official (generic) name as well as a brand (trademark) name.  These names are usually nothing alike.  For example, the drug generically known as eluxadoline is marketed under the trademark name VIBERZI.  This drug is used for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, which is far less science-fictiony (my term) than it sounds.
I find the naming of drugs fascinating.
The generic names given to drugs are virtual explosions of syllables.  These names tend to be long and filled with pronunciation potholes.  Often, such names are a shorthand version of the drug’s chemical name.  All generic names must be approved by (I am not making this up) the United States Adopted Names Council.  The drug you know as Tylenol, by way of illustration, has an approved generic name of acetaminophen. 
Giving a drug a brand name is another story entirely.  This name is usually proffered by the company responsible for developing the drug. Brand names are meant to be catchy.  In recent years, drug manufacturers have been marching clear to the end of the alphabet before naming new drugs.  The letters X, Y, Z, and sometimes V are often included in brand names.  Examples include: Xifaxan, Zyrtec, Zerviate and my all-time favorite, Xyzal.
In the end, all of these drugs can all be pronounced “ik’spensiv.”
Personally, I would prefer a more folksy approach to naming drugs.  I think a name such as “Clamp-Tight” is perfect for a drug that prevents diarrhea.  Maybe “Nervending” could be taken to cease anxiety.  In the meantime, we seem only months away from taking XYZ to cure something, maybe everything.

--Mitchell Hegman