12 Difficult-to-Pronounce Drug Names, Part 2

FEBRUARY 07, 2018
This article is the second part of a series on difficult to pronounce drug names. For part 1, click here.
 
Patients often struggle with pronouncing both generic and brand-name medications, but they’re not alone.
 
With thousands of FDA-approved medications on the market, it can be difficult for pharmacists to stay up-to-date on drug name pronunciations.
 
Here is a list of medications with names that may require some practice.
 
1. CAR-T Therapies: tisagenlecleucel and axicabtagene ciloleucel1
In August 2017, the FDA approved tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) for certain pediatric and young adult patients with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Three months later, axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) was approved to treat adult patients with certain types of large B-cell lymphoma who have not responded to or who have relapsed after at least two other kinds of treatment. Kymriah and Yescarta mark the first CAR-T gene therapy which involves engineering patients’ immune cells as a one-time cancer treatment.
 
Pronunciation
Tisagenlecleucel (tis a jen lek LOO sel)
Axicabtagene ciloleucel (ax i CAB tay jeen sye LO loo sel)

2. Obiltoxaximab1
Obiltoxaximab (Anthim) is a monoclonal antibody indicated for adult and pediatric patients exposed to inhaled anthrax. It can also be considered for prophylaxis of inhalational anthrax when alternative therapies are not available or are not appropriate. Since it’s not ethical to conduct clinical trials in humans with inhalational anthrax, the efficacy of obiltoxaximab was assessed in studies with rabbits and cynomolgus macaques.
 
Pronunciation
Obiltoxaximab (oh bil tox AX i mab)
 
3. Eptifibatide1
Eptifibatide (Integrilin) is a platelet aggregation inhibitor used to reduce the risk of acute cardiac ischemic events in patients with unstable angina or myocardial infarction. It is 1 of 3 drugs in the glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor class and should be used exclusively in hospitalized patients.
 
Pronunciation
Eptifibatide (ep TIF i ba tide)

4. Ixekizumab and guselkumab1
Ixekizumab (Taltz) and guselkumab (Tremfya) are autoimmune agents that have been approved in the last several years for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. Ixekizumab works as an antagonist for interleukin-17A while guselkumab is a selective interleukin-23 blocker.
 
Pronunciation
Ixekizumab (ix ee KIZ ue mab)
Guselkumab (gue sel KOO mab)
 
5. Hexaminolevulinate1
Hexaminolevulinate (Cysview) is an optical imaging drug used with blue light cystoscopy to enhance detection of bladder tumors, particularly carcinoma in situ. It’s considered to have benefit over white light cystoscopy as it can help reveals lesions that may not have otherwise been seen.
 
Hexaminolevulinate certainly isn’t a medication the majority of pharmacists will ever dispense or encounter; however it’s still a mouthful to pronounce.
 
Pronunciation
Hexaminolevulinate (hex a mee noe LEV ue lin ate)
 
6. Glecaprevir & pibrentasvir1
In August 2017, the FDA approved AbbVie’s Mavyret, a fixed-dose combination product containing glecaprevir, an HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor, and pibrentasvir, an HCV NS5A inhibitor for treatment in adults with HCV genotype 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 infection, without cirrhosis or with mild cirrhosis.
 
With its approval, Mavyret became the antiviral approved for an 8-week treatment duration for all HCV genotypes in treatment-naïve adult patients without cirrhosis. Additionally, Mavyret is the least costly HCV agent on the market.
 
Pronunciation
Glecaprevir & pibrentasvir (glek A pre vir & pi BRENT as vir)
 
7. Inotuzumab ozogamicin1
Inotuzumab ozogamicin (Besponsa) is a CD22-directed antibody-drug conjugate that was recently approved to treat adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Its approval was based on results of the INO-VATE ALL trial where it demonstrated significantly higher rates and duration of complete response as compared to the investigator's choice of chemotherapy. 
 
Pronunciation
Inotuzumab ozogamicin (in oh TOOZ ue mab oh zoe ga MYE sin)
 
8. Sebelipase alfa and taliglucerase alfa1
Sebelipase alfa (Kanuma) is a recombinant form of the enzyme lysosomal acid lipase (LAL). With its approval in December 2015, it became the first and only FDA approved treatment for lysosomal acid lipase deficiency, a rare inherited disorder that presents in approximately 1 in 500,000 live births.
 
Taliglucerase alfa (Elelyso) is another lyosomal enzyme replacement therapy however it is indicated for the treatment of patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Type 1 Gaucher disease.
 
Pronunciation
Sebelipase alfa (se be LYE pase AL fa)
Taliglucerase Alfa (tal i GLOO ser ase AL fa)
 
9. Ramucirumab1
Ramucirumab (Cyramza) is a human vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 antagonist indicated for gastric, non-small cell lung, and colorectal cancer. In May 2017, ramucirumab was shown to demonstrate improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for urothelial cancer, making it the first antiangiogenic agent to extend PFS in a phase-III trial in this cancer type. The manufacturer plans to submit for an additional indication with the FDA in 2018 pending results of outcomes on overall survival.
 
Pronunciation
Ramucirumab (ra mue SIR ue mab)
 
10. Clocortolone1
Clocortolone (Cloderm) is a topical steroid that has been used for more than 40 years for the relief of inflammatory and pruritic manifestations of corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses (such as eczema). Although clocortolone may not be the most difficult drug name to pronounce from the list it sure feels like it’s the most clumsy to say out loud.
 
Pronunciation
Clocortolone (kloe KOR toe lone)
 
11. Ipilimumab1
Ipilimumab (Yervoy) is a monoclonal antibody that works to activate the immune system by binding to CTLA-4. It is indicated for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma and for cutaneous melanoma. It is given as a weight-based dose infusion every 3 weeks for 4 total doses (unresectable or metastatic melanoma) or up to 3 years (adjuvant cutaneous melanoma).
 
Pronunciation
Ipilimumab (ip i LIM u mab)
 
12. Nabumetone1 
Nabumetone (Relafen) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has been used since 2000 to treat pain and inflammation. Nabumetone doesn’t appear like it should be a difficult drug name to pronounce, but for some reason I always seem to say the drug name with the 'b' and 'm' switched.
 
Pronunciation
Nabumetone (na BYOO me tone)
 
What medication names are missing from the list? Tweet them to me @toshea125. 
 
References
  1. Lexicomp Online®, Lexi-Drugs®, Hudson, Ohio: Lexi-Comp, Inc.; January 26, 2017. 


Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist working at a large health insurance plan on the east coast. Additionally he works per diem at a retail pharmacy chain. He graduated from MCPHS University - Boston in 2015 and subsequently completed a PGY-1 Managed Care Pharmacy Residency. His professional interests include pharmacy legislation and managed care pharmacy. He can be followed on Twitter at @toshea125.
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