A Drug By Any Other Name

CURE, Summer 2014, Volume 13, Issue 2

Drugs have more than one name, which can be confusing for cancer patients.

Drugs have more than one name, which can be confusing for patients. When a drug is in development, it is classified by how it works. For example, in this story, one of the similarities of the drugs in the taxane class is that they all cause neuropathy (other drugs mentioned in this article are listed below).

Every drug is assigned a generic name by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that remains with the drug regardless of how it is later marketed by the manufacturer. For example, paclitaxel is the generic name for Taxol, and docetaxel is the generic name for Taxotere. The brand name of a drug is determined by the drug’s developer and is used exclusively while the patent is in effect. As that time nears expiration, other manufacturers can apply to the FDA to make and sell generic versions of the drug. CURE uses a drug’s brand name, followed by its generic name, as long as the drug is under patent, and refers to the drug’s generic name only when the patent has expired or before a patent is granted.

Here are the generic and brand names of certain drugs:

gabapentin - Neurontin

paclitaxel - Taxol

docetaxel - Taxotere

duloxetine - Cymbalta

bortezomib - Velcade

cyclophosphamide - Cytoxan

pregabalin - Lyrica

oxycodone - Oxycontin

lenalidomide - Revlimid

pomalidomide - Pomalyst