Ask EpicentRx™

Sep 12, 2023

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No, no, no, and no.

Instead Ask EpicentRx™ in this monthly forum for personal, pithy answers from us, instead of a search engine or an AI bot, to burning questions with a medical, scientific, or pharmaceutical slant.

Here’s the first question.

Why are drug names, for example, Xgeva, Qvar, Xeljanz, Zykadi, Avycaz etc. such tongue twisters? E.G. from California 


Good question, E.G.

As it happens, by the way, the names of several drugs end in “-lol” such as propranolol, acebutolol, bisoprolol, which is fitting considering how laughable they are to spell and how their pronunciation may sound for all the world like blah-blah-blah-lol.

Ok, so the short answer since we promised to keep it pithy is that the brand names of drugs must be orthographically and phonemically distinct to prevent medication errors, non-hyperbolic to prevent implicit claims of superiority (e.g., superbesdrugeva is a no-go) as well as proprietary and punchy, which doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. The conspiracy theorist in us also endorses the belief that in some cases the names of these drugs are made as intentionally unpronounceable and bizarre as possible to increase their rememberability.

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