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"Decoding Drug Nomenclature: Understanding Prefixes and Suffixes in Pharmaceutical Terminology"

Pharmaceuticals play a crucial role in modern medicine, and a clear understanding of drug names is essential for healthcare professionals and patients alike. However, many drug names can seem like a foreign language to the uninitiated. That's where prefixes and suffixes come in. These linguistic components provide valuable information about the origin, composition, and purpose of a drug. In this blog, we'll explore the most common drug prefixes and suffixes, demystifying their meanings and helping you to make sense of those confusing pharmaceutical labels. So whether you're a student studying pharmacology, or simply someone who wants to have a better understanding of their medication, this guide is for you.


​STEM

DEFINITION OR CLASS

EXAMPLES

​-ac

NSAID (acetic acid derivatives)

bromfenac, dexpemedolac

-adol-

Mixed opiate receptor agonists/antagonists

levonantradol, spiradoline, tazadolene

-afil

Inhibitor of PDE5 with vasodilator action

​sildenafil (viagra), tadalafil

-alol

​Combined alpha and beta blockers

labetalol, medroxalol

-andr-

​Androgens

​nandrolone

-anib

​Angiogenesis inhibitors

​Pazopanib, Vandetanib

-anserin

Serotonin 5-HT (sub) 2 receptor antagonists

​altanserin, tropanserin

-arabine

​Antineoplastics

​fludarabine

-ase

​Enzymes

​alglucerase, dornase alfa

-atadine

​Tricyclic anti-asthmatics

​olopatadine, loratadine

-axine

​Antianxiety, antidepressant

​venlafaxine

-azenil

​Benzodiazepine receptor agonists/antagonist

​bretazenil, flumazenil

-pam

​Anti-anxiety

​lorazepam, diazepam

-azepide

​Cholecystokinin receptor antagonists

​devazepide

-azocine

​Narcotic antagonists/agonists

​quadazocine, ketazocine

-azoline

​Antihistamines/local vasoconstrictors

​antazoline

-azosin

​Antihypertensives

​doxazosin

-bactam

​Beta-lactamase inhibitors

​sulbactam

-bamate

​Tranquilizers/antiepileptics

​meprobamate, felbamate

-barb-

​Barbituric acid derivatives

​phenobarbital, secobarbital

-bersat

​Anticonvulsants; antimigraine

​carabersat; tidembersat

-bufen

NSAID

​indobufen

-butan

Antiseptics

​dapabutan, lopbutan

-zone

​Anti-inflammatory analgesics

​mofebutazone

-caine

​Local anesthetics

​lidocaine, dibucaine

​-carbef

​Antibiotics

loracarbef

​-cillin

​Antibiotics

​ampicillin, penicillin

​-cog

​Blog coagulation factors

​eptacog alfa, nonacog alfa, octocog alfa

​-zole

​Antifungals

​fluconazole, oxiconazole

-cort-

​Corticosteroid

​hydrocortisone

​-curium

​Neuromuscular blocking agents

​atracurium

​-cyline

​Antibiotics (tetracycline type)

​minocycline, tetracyline


​-dralazine

Antihypertensives

​hydralazine

​-dronate

​Calcium metabolism regulators

​etidronate, tiludronate

​-ectin

​Antiparasitics

​doramectin, moxidectin

​-erg-

​Ergot alkaloid derivatives

​pergolide

​-ide

​Diuretics

​bumetanide, furosemide

​-fenamic

​Anti-inflammatory

​mefenamic acid, flufenamic acid

​-fentanil

​Narcotic analgesics

​alfentanil, mirfentanil

​-fibrate

​Antihyperlipidemics

​bezafibrate

​-flurane

​Inhalation anesthetics

​enflurane, isoflurane

​-gest-

​Progestins

​megestrol

​-giline

​MAO-inhibitors

​selegiline

​-gillin

​Antibiotics

​mitogillin

​-gliptin

​Antihyperglycemics

​vildagliptin

​-glitazar

​Antihyperglycemics

​farglitazar

​-flizatone

​Antihyperglycemics

​ciglitazone, rosiglitazone

​-grel-

​Platelet aggregation inhibitor

​clopidogrel, ticagrelor

​-imex

​Immunostimulants

​forfenimex, roquinimex

​-imus

​Immunosuppressives

​tacrolimus, napirimus, gusperimus

​-irudin

​Anticoagulants

​desirudin

​-leukin

​Interleukin-2 derivatives

​teceleukin, aldesleukin

​-lukast

​Leukotriene antagonists

​montelukast, zafirlukast

​-mab

​Monoclonal antibodies

​capromab, daclizumab, detumomab

​-mantadine

​Antivirals

​rimantadine

​-milast

​Antiasthmatics/antiallergics

​piclamilast

​-monam

​Monobactam antibiotics

​gloximonam

​-mustine

​Antineoplastics

​carmustine

​-mycin

​Antibiotics

​lincomycin

​-olol

​Betablockers

​timolol, atenolol

​-one

​Steroids

​minaxolone, prednisolone

​-orphan

​Narcotic antagonists/agonists

​methrorphan, dextrorphan

​-oxacin

​Antibiotics

​dilfoxacin, ciprofloxacin

​-oxetine

​Antidepressants

​duloxetine, reboxetine

​-pamide

​Diuretics

​adipamide


​-pamil

​Coronary vasodilators

​tiapamil

​-parin

​Heparin derivatives

​heparin, tinzaparin, dalteparin

​-peridol

​Antipsychotics

​haloperidol

​-peridone

​Antipsychotics

​risperidone, iloperidone

​-pidem

​Hypnotics/Sedatives

​zolpidem, alpidem

​-piridine

​Cognition enhancers

​linopiridine, besipiridine

​-poetin

​Erythropoietins

​epoetin alfa, epoetin beta

​-pramine

​Antidepressants

​lofepramine

​-prazole

​Proton-pump inhibitor

​omeprazole, lansoprazole

​-pred-

​Prednisone derivatives

prednicarbate, cloprednol

​-pril

​Antihypertensive

​captopril, lisinopril, enalapril

​-profen

​Anti-inflammatory/analgesics

​flurbiprofen, ibuprofen

​-prost-

​Prostaglandin analogue

​latanoprost, unoprostone

​-rubicin

​Antineoplastic antibiotics

​epirubicin, idarubicin

​-sartan

​Angiotensin II receptor antagonists

​losartan, eprosartan, irbesartan

​-statin

​HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors

​atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin

​-one

​Steroids

​testosterone

​-sulfa

​Antibiotics

sulfasalazine

​-tegrast

​Antiasthmatics/antiallergics

​Valategrast

​-terol

​Bronchodilators

​albuterol

​-thiazide

​Diuretics

​chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide

​-tide

​peptides and glycopeptides

​Nesiritide, Octreotide

​-tocin

​Oxytocin

​Oxytocin, pitocin

​-trexate

​Antimetabolites

​methotrexate

​-triptyline

​Antidepressants

​amitriptyline

-uracil

​Thyroid antagonist and antineoplastic

​fluorouracil

​-zolast

​Antiasthmatics

​eclazolast, ontazolast

cef-

​Cephalosporins

cefazolin

estr-

​Estrogens

estrone

-​vir

​Antiviral

viroxime, acyclovir, oseltamivir

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