Types of Drug Names
When working in pharmacy practice, it is important to know the different types of drug names, how they differ from each other and why one drug might be chosen over another. It is also important to have a working knowledge of what the different drugs are used for. Having this knowledge and understanding aids in the prevention of errors and allows us to explain the medication to the patient accurately. There are four types of drug names. They are: the chemical name, the generic name, the official name, and the trade name (note that there may be more than one trade name). According to Johnston (2006), the chemical name describes the chemical make-up of the drug. The chemical name is typically very long and one would have to be a chemist in order to understand it. The generic name of a drug is a name given by the manufacturer before the drug is recognized. This name generally offers some information regarding the chemical make-up of the drug. Generic also means non-brand name. The official name is the name in which the drug is listed in the United States Pharmacopeia/National Formulary. The official name is typically the same as the generic name. The trade name of a drug is the name that the drug is sold by a specific manufacturer. The trade name is authorized for use only by that specific manufacturer who licensed the name. The trade name may also be known as the brand name or the proprietary name. There can be many different trade names for a drug, but it is important to understand and know that there can only be one generic name for the drug, Johnston (2006). The drug names differ in many aspects, for example, the chemical name is the chimerical compounds and make-up of the drug, while the generic name and the official name generally describes the form of the drug, i.e. capsule, tablet, suspension, powder, drops, chewable, ointments, cream, or lotions. The trade name is generally...
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