International Non-proprietary Name

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Driven by the confusion over the many proprietary and non-proprietary names a pharmaceutical substance could possess, the World Health Organisation devised the International Non-proprietary Name (INN; also known as rINN, for recommended International Non-proprietary Name) system. This gives each substance a standard name, and most countries have taken steps to recognise this standard.

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The United Kingdom has adopted rINN over the previously used British Approved Name (BAN). Exceptions to the rule include adrenaline (rINN: epinephrine) and noradrenaline (rINN: norepinephrine)

WHO issues INN names in English, Latin, French, Russian, and Spanish; Arabic and Chinese versions, although not proposed in the original standard, are now also being issued.

You can tell quite a lot about a drug as the suffixes are quite standard since about 1970. [1][2][3][4][5]

Examples of rINN suffixs etc

You can build up many names from standard components. The following examples may explain some components of rINN names for some of the newer products on the market.

  • -ast antiasthmatics, antiallergics
  • -cept receptor molecules, native or modified -preceding infixs:
    • -ber- VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) receptors
    • -co- complement receptors
    • -far- subgroup of interferon receptors
    • -lefa- lymphocyte function-associated antigen 3
    • -na- interleukin-1
    • -ta- cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4)
    • -vir- antiviral receptors
  • -gene gene therapy products (word 1-sufficient if naked DNA)
    • -vec / --plasmid gene therapy products (word 2)
  • -gli antihyperglycaemics
  • -imod immunomodulators, both stimulant/suppressive and stimulant
  • -imus immunosuppressants (other than antineoplastics)
  • -mab monoclonal antibodies (see Category:monoclonal antibodies for more details)
  • -nil benzodiazepine receptor antagonists/agonists
  • -tide peptides and glycopeptides
    • -fiba- platelet aggregation inhibitor (GPIIb/IIIa receptor antagonist)
  • -tril / trilat endopeptidase inhibitors
  • -vir- antivirals (undefined group)