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Editorials
November 9, 1964

DRUG NAMES

JAMA. 1964;190(6):542. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070190062016

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Abstract

Drugs are called at various times by various names. The generic or common name is necessary for effective teaching and physician-to-physician communications. In most prescribing situations, a modified generic name or a brand name is necessary if the physician is to retain control over the source of supply.

Initially, a single entity chemical compound will be represented as a formula from which an appropriate chemical name derives. For example, C17H19N2NaO6S1H2O becomes Sodium 6-(2,6-Dimethoxybenzamido)-3,3-dimethyl-7-oxo-4-thia-1-) azabicyclo [3.2.0] heptane-2-carboxylate Hydrate. Later, if the compound were intended for use as a drug, the manufacturer might use a code designation during a period of clinical trial. As soon as possible a generic or nonproprietary name would be assigned, eg, "sodium methicillin." At that same time or later, when the manufacturer puts the drug on the market, he may give the compound a trade

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