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June 30, 1978

What's in a Name?-Reply

JAMA. 1978;239(26):2759. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280530023008

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My quibble over the new drug name "flumoxonide" is probably more piddling than pedantic. The aim was as much to pun as to puncture.

I remain a proponent of the use of nonproprietary names, although I occasionally balk at writing "dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate," and I confess to abbreviating "phenoxymethyl penicillin." It is a real challenge to resist the subliminal impulse to prescribe the catchier brand name. Consequently, regardless of the trademark name that the manufacturer chooses for it, I have to smile when I see "flumoxonide," because "flummox" (origin unknown) means "to confuse."

Now, "moxcinonide," the other possibility, calls to mind that delicious New England concoction, Moxie, but it still sounds too much like "syanide." I would say that "flumethoxonide" would have been a safe, if not especially stirring, compromise. In any event, I am sure that writing a prescription for flumoxonide will always brighten my day.

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