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Guidelines on the Use of International Nonproprietary Names (INNs) for Pharmaceutical Substances
(1997; 41 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
Open this folder and view contents1. General introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Elements in the INN system
Open this folder and view contents3. Principles for selection of INNs
View the document4. Protection of INNs
Open this folder and view contents5. How to apply for an INN
View the document6. References for supporting material
View the documentAnnex 1: Background information on the INN programme
View the documentAnnex 2: General principles for guidance in devising international nonproprietary names for pharmaceutical substances
View the documentAnnex 3: List of common stems used in the selection of INNs
View the documentAnnex 4: Specific groups of biological compounds
View the documentAnnex 5: WHA46.19 - Nonproprietary names for pharmaceutical substances
View the documentAnnex 6: Procedure for the selection of international nonproprietary names for pharmaceutical substances
View the documentAnnex 7: Applications for INNs through national authorities (addresses)
View the documentAnnex 8: INN request form
 

Annex 3: List of common stems used in the selection of INNs

STEM

DEFINITION

   

substem, if available

-ac

anti-inflammatory agents, ibufenac derivatives

-actide

synthetic polypeptides with a corticotropin-like action

-adol or -adol-

analgesics

-adom

analgesics, tifluadom derivatives

-afenone

antiarrhythmics, propafenone derivatives

-aj-

antiarrhythmics, ajmaline derivatives

-aldrate

antacids, aluminium salts

-alox

antacids, aluminium derivatives

-amivir

see vir

andr or -stan- or -ster-

steroids, androgens

-anserin

serotonin receptor antagonists (mostly 5-HT2)

-antel

anthelminthics (undefined group)

-apine

see -pine

-arabine

arabinofuranosyl derivatives

-arit

antiarthritic substances, acting like clobuzarit and lobenzarit (mechanism different from anti-inflammatory type substances, e.g. -fenamates or -profens)

-arol

anticoagulants, dicoumarol derivatives

arte-

antimalarial agents, artemisinin related compounds

-ase

enzymes;

   

-dismase (superoxide dismutase activity),

   

-pase (lipase)

   

-teplase (tissue plasminogen activators),

   

-uplase (urokinase-type-plasminogen activators)

-ast

antiasthmatic, antiallergics, not acting primarily as antihistaminics;

   

-lukast (leukotriene receptor antagonist);

   

-trodast (thromboxane A2 receptor antagonists, antiasthmatics)

-astine

antihistaminics

-azenil

benzodiazepine receptor antagonists/agonists (benzodiazepine derivatives)

-azepam

diazepam derivatives

-azepide

cholecystokinin receptor antagonist

-azocine

narcotic antagonists/agonsists related to 6,7-benzomorphan

-azoline

antihistaminics or local vasoconstrictors, antazoline derivatives

-azosin

antihypertensive substances, prazosin derivatives

-bactam

b-lactamase inhibitors

-bamate

tranquillizers, propanediol and pentanediol derivatives

barb

hypnotics, barbituric acid derivatives

-bendazole

anthelminthics, tiabendazole derivatives

bol

anabolic steroids

-bradine

bradycardic agents

-buzone

anti-inflammatory analgesics, phenylbutazone derivatives

-cain-

Class I antiarrhythmics, procainamide and lidocaine derivatives (antifibrillants with local anaesthetic activity)

-caine

local anaesthetics

calci

Vitamin D analogues/derivatives

-carbef

antibiotics, carbacepham derivatives

-carnil

benzodiazepine receptor antagonists/agonists (carboline derivatives)

-cavir

see vir

cef-

antibiotics, cefalosporanic acid derivatives

cell- or cel- or -cell-

cellulose derivatives

   

cell-ate (cellulose ester derivatives);

   

-cellose (cellulose ether derivatives)

-cic

hepatoprotective substances with a carboxylic acid group

-cidin

naturally occurring antibiotics (undefined group)

-cillin

antibiotics, 6-aminopenicillanic acid derivatives

-citabine

nucleoside antiviral or antineoplastic agents, cytarabine or azarabine derivatives

-clone

hypnotic tranquillizers

-cog

blood coagulation factors;

   

(-)eptacog (blood coagulation VII);

   

(-)octocog (blood coagulation factor VIII);

   

(-)nonacog (blood coagulation factor IX)

-conazole

systemic antifungal agents, miconazole derivatives

cort

corticosteroids, except prednisolone derivatives

-crinat

diuretics, etacrynic acid derivatives

-crine

acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, tacrine derivatives

-cromil

antiallergics, cromoglicic acid derivatives

-curium

see -ium

-cycline

antibiotics, tetracycline derivatives

-dan

cardiac stimulants, pimobendan derivatives

-dapsone

antimycobacterials, diaminodiphenylsulfone derivatives

-dermin

see -ermin

-dil

vasodilators

-dipine

calcium channel blockers, nifedipine derivatives

-dismase

see -ase

-dopa

dopamine receptor agonists, dopamine derivatives, used as antiparkinsonism/prolactin inhibitors;

-dox

antibacterials, quinoline dioxide derivatives

-dralazine

antihypertensives, hydrazinephthalazine derivatives

-drine

sympathomimetics;

   

-frine: sympathomimetic, phenethyl derivatives

-dronic acid

calcium metabolism regulator, pharmaceutical aid

-ectin

antiparasitics, ivermectin derivatives

-entan

endothelin receptor antagonists

-eptacog

see -cog

erg

ergot alkaloid derivatives

-eridine

analgesics, pethidine derivatives

-ermin

growth factors;

   

-dermin (epidermal growth factors);

   

-fermin (fibrinoblast growth factors);

   

-nermin (tumour necrosis factor);

   

-sermin (insulin-like growth factors)

estr

estrogens

-etanide

diuretics, piretanide derivatives

-exakin

see -kin

-exine

mucolytic, bromhexine derivatives

-fenamic acid

anti-inflammatory, anthranilic acid derivatives

   

-fenamate (“-fenamic acid” derivatives)

-fenin

diagnostic aids; (phenylcarbamoyl)methyl iminodiacetic acid derivatives

-fenine

analgesics, glafenine derivatives - (subgroup of fenamic acid group)

-fentanil

narcotic analgesics, fentanil derivatives

-fermin

see -ermin

-fiban

fibrinogen receptor antagonists (glycoprotein Iib/IIIa receptor antagonists)

-fibrate

clofibrate derivatives

-flapon

5-lipoxygenase-activating protein (FLAP) inhibitor

-flurane

general inhalation anaesthetics, halogenated alkane derivatives

-formin

antihyperglycaemics, phenformin derivatives

-fos (-vos)

insecticides, anthelmintics, pesticides etc., phosphorous derivatives

-fos- or fos-

various pharmacological categories belonging to -fos (other than above)

-fradil

calcium channel blockers acting as vasodilators

-frine

see -drine

-fungin

antifungal antibiotics

-fylline

N-methylated xanthine derivatives

gab

gabamimetic agents

gado-

diagnostic agents, gadolinium derivatives

-gatran

thrombin inhibitor, antithrombotic agents

gest

steroids, progestogens

-giline

MAO-inhibitors type B

-gillin

antibiotics produced by Aspergillus strains

gli

antihyperglycaemics, sulfonamide derivatives

-golide

dopamine receptor agonists, ergoline derivatives

-gramostim

see -stim

-grastim

see -stim

-grel- or -grel

platelet aggregation inhibitors

guan-

antihypertensives, guanidine derivatives

-icam

anti-inflammatory, isoxicam derivatives

-ifene

antiestrogens, clomifene and tamoxifen derivatives

-ilide

Class III antiarrhythmics, sematilide derivatives

imex

immunostimulants

-imod

immunomodulators, both stimulant/suppressive and stimulant

-imus

immunosuppressants (other than antineoplastics)

io-

iodine-containing contrast media

-io- or iod-

iodine containing compounds other than contrast media

-iptan

serotonin (5HT1) receptor agonists, sumatriptan derivatives

-irudin

hirudin derivatives

-isomide

antiarrhythmics, disopyramide derivatives

-ium

quarternary ammonium compounds;

   

-curium (curare-like substances)

-izine

diphenylmethyl piperazine derivatives;

   

-rizine (antihistaminics/cerebral (or peripheral) vasodilators)

-kacin

antibiotics, kanamycin and bekanamycin derivatives (obtained from Streptomyces kanamyceticus);

-kalant

potassium channel blockers

-kalim

potassium channel activators, antihypertensive

-kef-

enkephalin agonists

-kin

interleukin type substances;

   

-nakin (Il-1 derivatives)

   

-leukin (Il-2 derivatives)

   

-plestim (Il-3 derivatives)

   

-exakin (Il-6 derivatives)

-kinra

interleukin receptor antagonists;

   

-nakinra (Il-1 receptor antagonists)

-kiren

renin inhibitors

-leukin

see -kin

-lipastat

see -stat

-lukast

see -ast

-mab

monoclonal antibodies (for details please see page .....)

-mantadine

adamantane derivatives;

   

-mantine, -mantone

-meline

cholinergic agents, arecoline derivatives

-mer

polymers

-mesine

sigma receptor ligands

-mestane

aromatase inhibitors

-metacin

anti-inflammatory, indometacin derivatives

-micin

antibiotics obtained from various Micromonospora

-monam

monobactam antibiotics

-morelin

see -relin

-mostim

see -stim

-motine

antivirals, quinoline derivatives

-moxin

monoamine oxidase inhibitors, hydrazine derivatives** not part of definition

-mustine

antineoplastic, alkylating agents, (b-chloroethyl)amine derivatives

-mycin

antibiotics, produced by Streptomyces strains

nab

cannabinol derivatives

-nakin

see -kin

-nakinra

see -kinra

nal-

narcotic antagonists/agonists related to normorphine

-nercept

tumor necrosis factor antagonist

-nermin

see -ermin

nic

nicotinic acid or nicotinoyl alcohol derivatives

-nicate

antihypercholesterolaemic and/or vasodilating nicotinic acid esters

-nidazole

antiprotozoals, metronidazole derivatives

nifur-

5-nitrofuran derivatives

-nixin

anti-inflammatory, anilinonicotinic acid derivatives

-nonacog

see -cog

-octocog

see -cog

-olol

b-adrenoreceptor antagonists;

   

-alol: aromatic ring -CH-CH2-NH-R related to -olols

-olone

steroids other than prednisolone derivatives

-opamine

dopaminergic agents dopamine derivatives used as cardiac stimulant/antihypertensives/diuretics

-onide

steroids for topical use, acetal derivatives

-(o)nidine

antihypertensives, clonidine derivatives

-orex

anoretics

orphan

narcotic antagonists/agonists, morphinan derivates;

   

-orphine, -orphinol, orphone

-oxacin

antibacterials, nalidixic acid derivatives

-oxan(e)

benzodioxane derivatives

-oxanide

antiparasitics, salicylanides and analogues

-oxef

antibiotics, oxacefalosporanic acid derivatives

-oxetine

antidepressants, fluoxetine derivatives

-pafant

platelet-activating factor antagonists

-pamide

diuretics, sulfamoylbenzoic acid derivatives

-pamil

coronary vasodilators, verapamil derivatives

-parcin

glycopeptide antibiotics

-parin

heparin derivatives including low molecular mass heparins

-penem

analogues of penicillanic acid antibiotics modified in the five-membered ring

-peridol

see -perone

-peridone

see -perone

-perone

tranquillizers, neuroleptics, 4'-fluoro-4-piperidinobutyrophenone derivatives;

   

-peridol (antipsychotics, haloperidol derivatives);

   

-peridone (antipsychotics, risperidone derivatives)

-pidem

hypnotics/sedatives, zolpidem derivatives

-pin(e)

tricyclic compounds;

   

-apine (psychoactive);

   

-cilpine (antiepileptic);

   

-dipine (see -dipine)

   

-zepine (antidepressant/neuroleptic);

   

-oxepin, -oxopine, -sopine, -tepines

-piprazole

psychotropics, phenylpiperazine derivatives

-pirox

antimycotic pyridone derivatives

-planin

antibacterials (Actinoplanes strains)

-platin

antineoplastic agents, platinum derivatives

-plestim

see -stim

-plon

pyrazolo[.]pyrimidine derivatives, used as anxiolytics, sedatives, hypnotics

   

-poetin erythropoietin type blood factors

   

-porfin benzoporphyrin derivatives

-pramine

substances of the imipramine group

-prazole

antiulcer, benzimidazole derivatives

pred

prednisone and prednisolone derivatives;

   

-methasone or -metasone, -betasol

-pressin

vasoconstrictors, vasopressin derivatives

-pride

sulpiride derivatives

-pril(at)

angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors

-prim

antibacterials, trimethoprim derivatives

-profen

anti-inflammatory agents, ibuprofen derivatives

prost

prostaglandins;

   

-prostil (prostaglandins, anti-ulcer)

-prostil

see -prost

-quinil

benzodiazepine receptor partial agonists (quinoline derivatives)

-racetam

amide type nootrope agents, piracetam derivatives

-relin

prehormones or hormone-release stimulating peptides:

   

-morelin (growth hormone release-stimulating peptides);

   

-tirelin (thyrotropin releasing hormone analogues)

-relix

hormone-release inhibiting peptides

-renone

aldosterone antagonists, spironolactone derivates

-restat (or -restat-)

see -stat

retin

retinol derivatives

-ribine

ribofuranil-derivatives of the pyrazofurin type

rifa-

antibiotics, rifamycin derivatives

-rinone

cardiac stimulants, amrinone derivatives

-rizine

see -izine

-rozole

aromatase inhibitors, imidazole-triazole derivatives

-rubicin

antineoplastic antibiotics, daunorubicin derivatives

sal

salicylic acid derivatives:

   

-sal-, salazo-, -salazine/-salazide, -salan

-sartan

angiotensin II receptor antagonists, antihypertensive (non-peptidic)

-semide

diuretics, furosemide derivatives

-sermin

see -ermin

-serpine

derivatives of Rauwolfia alkaloids

-setron

serotonin receptor antagonists (5-HT3) not fitting into other established groups of serotonin receptor antagonists

som-

growth hormone derivatives

-spirone

anxiolytics, buspirone derivatives

-stat (or -stat-)

enzyme inhibitors:

   

-lipastat (pancreatic lipase inhibitors);

   

-restat or -restat- (aldose-reducing inhibitors);

   

-vastatin (antilipidemic substances, HMG CoA reductase inhibitors)

-steine

mucolytics, other than bromhexine derivatives

-ster-

androgens/anabolic steroids:

   

-testosterone, -sterone, -ster-, -gesterone, -sterone, sterol, ster,
-(a)steride (antineoplastics)

-stim

colony stimulating factors:

   

-grastim (granulocyte colony stimulatory factor (G-CSF) type) substances;

   

-gramostim (granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) type substances);

   

-mostim (macrophage stimulating factors (M-CSF) type substances);

   

-plestim (interleukin-3 analogues and derivatives)

sulfa-

anti-infectives, sulfonamides

-sulfan

antineoplastic, alkylating agents, methanesulfonates

-tecan

antineoplastics, topoisomerase I inhibitors

-tepa

antineoplastics, thiotepa derivatives

-teplase

see -ase

-terol

bronchodilators, phenethylamine derivatives [previously -prenaline or -terenol]

-terone

antiandrogens

-tiazem

calcium channel blockers, diltiazem derivatives

-tide

peptides and glycopeptides (for special groups of peptides see -actide, -pressin, -relin, -tocin)

-tidine

histamine H2-receptor antagonists, cimetidine derivatives

-tirelin

see -relin

-tizide

diuretics, chlorothiazide derivatives

-tocin

oxytocin derivatives

-toin

antiepileptics, hydantoin derivatives

-trexate

folic acid analogues

-tricin

antibiotics, polyene derivatives

-triptyline

antidepressants, dibenzo[a,d]cycloheptane or cyclopheptene derivatives

-troban

thromboxane A2-receptor antagonists; antithrombotic agents

-trodast

see -ast

trop

atropine derivatives

-uplase

see -ase

-uracil

uracil derivatives used as thyroid antagonists and as antineoplastics

-uridine

uridine derivatives used as antiviral agents and as antineoplastics; also -udine

-vastatin

see -stat

-verine

spasmolytics with a papaverine-like action

vin- or -vin-

vinca alkaloids

vir

antivirals (undefined group):

   

-amivir (neuraminidase inhibitors);

   

-cavir (carbocyclic nucleosides);

   

-virsen (antisense oligonucleotides)

-virsen

see vir

-vudine

antiviral; antineoplastics, zidovudine derivatives

-xanox

antiallergic respiratory tract drugs, xanoxic acid derivatives

-zafone

alozafone derivatives

-zepine

see -pine

Explanatory note:

The hyphens indicate the position of the stem, prefix, infix or suffix, within the INN. In the event that the hyphen is absent, the stem may be used in any position within the name.

The following common stems have been discontinued:

STEM

DEFINITION

mer- or -mer-

mercury-containing drugs, antimicrobial or diuretic
(deleted from General Principles in List 28 prop. INN)

mito-

antineoplastics, nucleotoxic agents
(deleted from General Principles in List 24 prop. INN)

-ol

alcohols and phenols
(deleted from General Principles in 14th report)

-quine, quin

quinoline derivatives
(deleted from General Principles in List 28 prop. INN)

-stigmine

anticholinesterases
(deleted from General Principles in List 24 prop. INN)

 

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