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General Principles for Guidance in Devising International Nonproprietary Names for Pharmaceutical Substances - Directives générales pour la formation de dénominations communes internationales applicables aux substances pharmaceutiques - Principios generales de orientación para formar denominaciones comunes internacionales para sustancias farmacéuticas
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View the documentGENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR GUIDANCE IN DEVISING INTERNATIONAL NONPROPRIETARY NAMES FOR PHARMACEUTICAL SUBSTANCES
View the documentDIRECTIVES GENERALES POUR LA FORMATION DE DENOMINATIONS COMMUNES INTERNATIONALES APPLICABLES AUX SUBSTANCES PHARMACEUTIQUES*
View the documentPRINCIPIOS GENERALES DE ORIENTACION PARA FORMAR DENOMINACIONES COMUNES INTERNACIONALES PARA SUSTANCIAS FARMACEUTICAS*
 

GENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR GUIDANCE IN DEVISING INTERNATIONAL NONPROPRIETARY NAMES FOR PHARMACEUTICAL SUBSTANCES

1. International Nonproprietary Names (INN) should be distinctive in sound and spelling. They should not be inconveniently long and should not be liable to confusion with names in common use.

2. The INN for a substance belonging to a group of pharmacologically related substances should, where appropriate, show this relationship. Names that are likely to convey to a patient an anatomical, physiological, pathological or therapeutic suggestion should be avoided.

These primary principles are to be implemented by using the following secondary principles:

3. In devising the INN of the first substance in a new pharmacological group, consideration should be given to the possibility of devising suitable INN for related substances, belonging to the new group.

4. In devising INN for acids, one-word names are preferred; their salts should be named without modifying the acid name, e.g. "oxacillin" and "oxacillin sodium", "ibufenac" and "ibufenac sodium".

5. INN for substances which are used as salts should in general apply to the active base or the active acid. Names for different salts or esters of the same active substance should differ only in respect of the name of the inactive acid or the inactive base.

For quaternary ammonium substances, the cation and anion should be named appropriately as separate components of a quaternary substance and not in the amine-salt style.

6. The use of an isolated letter or number should be avoided; hyphenated construction is also undesirable.

7. To facilitate the translation and pronunciation of INN, "f" should be used instead of "ph", "t" instead of "th", "e" instead of "ae" or "oe", and "i" instead of "y"; the use of the letters "h" and "k" should be avoided.

8. Provided that the names suggested are in accordance with these principles, names proposed by the person discovering or first developing and marketing a pharmaceutical preparation, or names already officially in use in any country, should receive preferential consideration.

9. Group relationship in INN (see Guiding Principle 2) should if possible be shown by using a common stem. The following list contains examples of stems for groups of substances, particularly for new groups. There are many other stems in active use.

1 Where a stem is shown without any hyphens it may be used anywhere in the name.

Latin

English


-acum

-ac

anti-inflammatory agents of the ibufenac group

-actidum

-actide

synthetic polypeptides with a corticotropin-like action

-adolum

-adol

analgesics

-adol-

-adol-)

analgesics

-astum

-ast

antiasthmatic, antiallergic substances not acting primarily as antihistaminics

-astinum

-astine

antihistaminics

-azepamum

-azepam

diazepam derivatives

-bactamum

-bactam

beta-lactamase inhibitors

bol

bol

steroids, anabolic

-buzonum

-buzone

anti-inflammatory analgesics, phenylbutazone derivatives

-cain-

-cain

antifibrillant substances with local anaesthetic activity

-cainum

-caine

local anaesthetics

cef-

cef-

antibiotics, cefalosporanic acid derivatives

-cillinum

-cillin

antibiotics, derivatives of 6-aminopenicillanic acid

-conazolum

-conazole

systemic antifungal agents, miconazole derivatives

cort

cort

corticosteroids, except prednisolone derivatives

-dipinum

-dipine

calcium channel blockers, nifedipine derivatives

-fibratum

-fibrate

clofibrate derivatives

gest

gest

steroids, progestogens

gli-

gli-

sulfonamide hypoglycaemics

io-

io-

iodine-containing contrast media

-ium

-ium

quaternary ammonium compounds

-metacinum

-metacin

anti-inflammatory substances, indometacin derivatives

-mycinum

-mycin

antibiotics, produced by Streptomyces strains

-nidazolum

-nidazole

antiprotozoal substances, metronidazole derivatives

-ololum

-olol

beta-adrenoreceptor antagonists

-oxacinum

-oxacin

antibacterial agents, nalidixic acid derivatives

-pridum

-pride

sulpiride derivatives

-pril(at)um

pril(at)

angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors

-profenum

-profen

anti-inflammatory substances, ibuprofen derivatives

prost

prost

prostaglandins

-relinum

-relin

hypophyseal hormone release-stimulating peptides

-terolum

-terol

bronchodilators, phenethylamine derivatives

-tidinum

-tidine

histamine H2-receptor antagonists

-trexatum

-trexate

folic acid antagonists

-verinum

-verine

spasmolytics with a papaverine-like action

-vin

vin-)

vinca alkaloids

-vin

-vin-)

vinca alkaloids

1 1 A more extensive listing of stems is contained in the working document Pharm. S/Nom.15 which is regularly updated and can be requested from Pharmaceuticals, WHO, Geneva.

 

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