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Editor's Correspondence
January 12, 1998

Reductase Inhibitors: A Useless Phrase Without Specific Description

Arch Intern Med. 1998;158(1):98. doi:

I note in the medical literature the increasing use of invented short phrases to describe drugs and drug classes. For example, in the June 23 issue of the ARCHIVES, Crouse et al1 repeatedly refer to "reductase inhibitor" in their article dealing with the actions of pravastatin and lovastatin. These drugs are inhibitors of β-hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (accepted abbreviation HMG-CoA reductase). It is inaccurate and inappropriate to use the truncated phrase "reductase inhibitor" to characterize these drugs because there are many reductase enzymes in human biochemistry. Moreover, there are other reductase inhibitors, such as finasteride, a 5α-reductase inhibitor, which is completely unrelated to lovastatin and pravastatin.