In principle, INNs are selected only for the active part of the molecule which is usually the base, acid or alcohol. In some cases, however, the active molecules need to be expanded for various reasons, such as formulation purposes, bioavailability or absorption rate. In 1975 the experts designated for the selection of INN decided to adopt a new policy for naming such molecules. In future, names for different salts or esters of the same active substance should differ only with regard to the inactive moiety of the molecule. For example, oxacillin and ibufenac are INNs and their salts are named oxacillin sodium and ibufenac sodium. The latter are called modified INNs (INNMs).
Before the existence of this rule, some INNs were published for salts. In such cases, the term “modified INN” may also be used for a base or acid. For example, levothyroxine sodium was published as an INN and levothyroxine may thus be referred to as an INNM.
Please see also chapter 2.4 for radicals and groups (see also 2.4) which are used in conjunction with INNs and which are also referred to as INNM.