Tony Guerra, PharmD
Tony Guerra, PharmD
Tony Guerra, PharmD, is chair, instructor, and pre-pharmacy advisor at Des Moines Area Community College's Pharmacy Technician program and Pharmacy Podcast Network Co-Host. He's Tony_PharmD on Twitter and TonyPharmD on YouTube providing Top 200 drugs and pronunciation help to over 4,500 followers with over 1 million views. His two audiobooks Memorizing Pharmacology: A Relaxed Approach and How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors are Amazon bestsellers. He graduated from Iowa State University with a BA in English and the University of Maryland with his PharmD.

The Top 200 Drugs of 2017?

MARCH 20, 2017
Dr. Sean Kane PharmD, BCPS of Rosalind-Franklin University recently introduced the ClinCalc DrugStats Database and the 2017 Top 200 Drugs on his ClinCalc.com website.

The website was originally created to do calculations that would help him as a resident and then fellow practitioners. He noticed that the Top 200 drugs list has been absent for the last 5 years. Through a mechanism he describes on his website, he’s come up with a viable Top 200 and Top 300 drugs that can be valuable for pharmacy schools that accounts for some of the changes in the calculating of these lists and the expense of getting the most recent.  

The annual Top 200 Drugs is a list that takes advantage of Pareto’s Principle, that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. The Top 200 drugs as the 20% represents the 80% of prescriptions that are actually filled. While the actual percentages deviate from that 80/20, the principle holds. However, the Top 200 Drugs list presents a problem for students and educators. What order should a student learn them in?

If one tries to learn them in the order they appear, this makes it very difficult as drugs in similar classes often sit on different areas of the table. If one tries to learn them alphabetically, this only helps with those drug classes that have a similar prefix, like the cephalosporins cefepime and cefuroxime. However, by classifying them in an order of pathophysiologic classifications, it becomes much easier to learn them. In my 2 audiobooks Memorizing Pharmacology: A Relaxed Approach and How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors, I take advantage of this third approach making further groupings to help with serial memorization – memorizing drug lists in a specific order.

Below, I have ordered the Top 200 Drugs as listed on the ClinCalc.com website first in 7 main groupings of Gastrointestinal, Musculoskeletal, Respiratory, Immune, Neuro, Cardio, Endocrine. I use the GMRINCE, GrandMothers RINCE kids hair (the French spelling of rinse) as a way to remember this broad order of gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, etc.

Within the large groups I classify drugs by their mechanism of action starting with H2-blockers (ending with –tidine), then proton pump inhibitors (ending with –prazole) and so on, alphabetizing the drugs within a class with the same stem to give a way to readily memorize these 200 drugs.

Both audiobooks go into greater detail on mnemonics and rationale for this system. By using Dr. Kane’s Top 200 list and the Memorizing Pharmacology rationale, a viable list and method comes forth for the Top 200 Drugs of 2017. I’ve made a playlist on YouTube with the Top 200 drugs listed in the order below:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCVrPKWoior1LYXzy4u04Ychd_0pyOkCQ

  Gastrointestinal  
1 Famotidine  
2 Ranitidine  
3 Esomeprazole  
4 Lansoprazole  
5 Omeprazole  
6 Pantoprazole Sodium  
7 Docusate  
8 Ondansetron  
9 Promethazine Hydrochloride  
10 Mesalamine  
     
  Musculoskeletal  
11 Aspirin  
12 Diclofenac  
13 Ibuprofen  
14 Naproxen  
15 Meloxicam  
16 Celecoxib  
17 Acetaminophen  
18 Morphine  
19 Hydrocodone Bitartrate/Acetaminophen  
20 Oxycodone  
21 Tramadol Hydrochloride  
22 Sumatriptan  
23 Alendronate Sodium  
24 Baclofen  
25 Carisoprodol  
26 Cyclobenzaprine Hydrochloride  
27 Methocarbamol  
28 Tizanidine  
29 Allopurinol  
     
  Respiratory (also some allergy/topical)  
30 Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride  
31 Hydroxyzine  
32 Cetirizine Hydrochloride  
33 Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride  
34 Loratadine  
35 Beclomethasone  
36 Budesonide  
37 Fluticasone  
38 Mometasone  
39 Triamcinolone  
40 Guaifenesin  
41 Benzonatate  
42 Clobetasol Propionate  
43 Hydrocortisone  
44 Methylprednisolone  
45 Prednisolone  
46 Prednisone  
47 Budesonide; Formoterol  
48 Fluticasone Propionate/Salmeterol Xinafoate  
49 Albuterol  
50 Albuterol Sulfate; Ipratropium Bromide  
51 Ipratropium  
52 Tiotropium  
53 Montelukast  
     
  Immune  
54 Amoxicillin  
55 Penicillin V  
56 Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium  
57 Cephalexin  
58 Doxycycline  
59 Azithromycin  
60 Clindamycin  
61 Sulfamethoxazole; Trimethoprim  
62 Ciprofloxacin  
63 Levofloxacin  
64 Fluconazole  
65 Nystatin  
66 Acyclovir  
67 Valacyclovir  
68 Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate  
     
  Neuro  
69 Meclizine Hydrochloride  
70 Zolpidem Tartrate  
71 Trazodone Hydrochloride  
72 Citalopram  
73 Escitalopram Oxalate  
74 Fluoxetine Hydrochloride  
75 Paroxetine  
76 Sertraline Hydrochloride  
77 Duloxetine  
78 Desvenlafaxine  
79 Venlafaxine Hydrochloride  
80 Amitriptyline  
81 Nortriptyline Hydrochloride  
82 Mirtazapine  
83 Bupropion  
84 Alprazolam  
85 Clonazepam  
86 Diazepam  
87 Lorazepam  
88 Temazepam  
89 Buspirone Hydrochloride  
90 Amphetamine  
91 Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride  
92 Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate  
93 Methylphenidate  
94 Lithium  
95 Aripiprazole  
96 Risperidone  
97 Quetiapine Fumarate  
98 Divalproex Sodium  
99 Phenytoin  
100 Gabapentin  
101 Lamotrigine  
102 Levetiracetam  
103 Oxcarbazepine  
104 Pregabalin  
105 Topiramate  
106 Benztropine Mesylate  
107 Ropinirole Hydrochloride  
108 Donepezil Hydrochloride  
109 Memantine Hydrochloride  
     
  Cardio  
110 Omega-3-acid Ethyl Esters  
111 Aspirin  
112 Furosemide  
113 Chlorthalidone  
114 Hydrochlorothiazide  
115 Hydrochlorothiazide; Triamterene  
116 Spironolactone  
117 Potassium  
118 Doxazosin Mesylate  
119 Terazosin  
120 Clonidine  
121 Propranolol Hydrochloride  
122 Propranolol Hydrochloride/Hydrochlorothiazide
123 Atenolol  
124 Atenolol; Chlorthalidone  
125 Metoprolol  
126 Carvedilol  
127 Nebivolol Hydrochloride  
128 Benazepril Hydrochloride  
129 Enalapril Maleate  
130 Lisinopril  
131 Lisinopril; Hydrochlorothiazide  
132 Quinapril  
133 Ramipril  
134 Losartan Potassium  
135 Losartan Potassium/Hydrochlorothiazide  
136 Olmesartan Medoxomil  
137 Valsartan  
138 Valsartan/Hydrochlorothiazide  
139 Diltiazem Hydrochloride  
140 Verapamil Hydrochloride  
141 Amlodipine Besylate  
142 Amlodipine Besylate/Benazepril Hydrochloride  
143 Nifedipine  
144 Hydralazine Hydrochloride  
145 Isosorbide Mononitrate  
146 Nitroglycerin  
147 Atorvastatin  
148 Lovastatin  
149 Pravastatin Sodium  
150 Rosuvastatin Calcium  
151 Simvastatin  
152 Fenofibrate  
153 Gemfibrozil  
154 Ezetimibe  
155 Ezetimibe; Simvastatin  
156 Warfarin  
157 Dabigatran Etexilate Mesylate  
158 Rivaroxaban  
159 Clopidogrel Bisulfate  
160 Digoxin  
161 Amiodarone Hydrochloride  
     
  Endocrine  
162 Metformin Hydrochloride  
163 Metformin Hydrochloride/Sitagliptin Phosphate
164 Sitagliptin Phosphate  
165 Glyburide  
166 Glimepiride  
167 Glipizide  
168 Pioglitazone Hydrochloride  
169 Liraglutide  
170 Insulin Aspart  
171 Insulin Lispro  
172 Insulin Detemir  
173 Insulin Glargine  
174 Levothyroxine  
175 Thyroid  
176 Testosterone  
177 Estradiol  
178 Estrogens, Conjugated  
179 Ethinyl Estradiol/Desogestrel  
180 Ethinyl Estradiol/Drospirenone  
181 Ethinyl Estradiol/Levonorgestrel  
182 Ethinyl Estradiol/Norethindrone  
183 Ethinyl Estradiol/Norgestimate  
184 Oxybutynin  
185 Tamsulosin Hydrochloride  
186 Finasteride  
187 Anastrozole  
188 Phentermine  
     
  Eye drops  
189 Brimonidine Tartrate  
190 Latanoprost  
191 Travoprost  
     
  Vitamin, Mineral, Electrolyte, Etc.  
192 Calcium  
193 Cholecalciferol/Alpha-Tocopherol  
194 Cyanocobalamin  
195 Ergocalciferol  
196 Folic Acid  
197 Magnesium  
198 Sodium  
199 Sodium Fluoride  
200 Ferrous Sulfate  
 
Dr. Kane’s original list from the ClinCalc website is here:

Rank Drug Name Total Prescriptions 2014
1 Lisinopril 115,508,573
2 Levothyroxine 99,992,248
3 Metformin Hydrochloride 86,125,658
4 Simvastatin 81,518,801
5 Atorvastatin 74,227,208
6 Metoprolol 72,320,918
7 Omeprazole 71,929,303
8 Acetaminophen/Hydrocodone Bitartrate 68,756,036
9 Amlodipine Besylate 63,722,510
10 Hydrochlorothiazide 50,428,398
11 Albuterol 48,189,599
12 Gabapentin 39,361,473
13 Sertraline Hydrochloride 37,723,879
14 Losartan Potassium 37,330,149
15 Furosemide 37,104,417
16 Azithromycin 31,988,786
17 Acetaminophen 31,926,190
18 Atenolol 30,837,679
19 Insulin Human 30,588,285
20 Fluticasone 30,573,156
21 Citalopram 29,737,921
22 Pravastatin Sodium 29,717,750
23 Alprazolam 28,897,888
24 Potassium 28,365,609
25 Amoxicillin 27,585,663
26 Tramadol Hydrochloride 25,809,738
27 Montelukast 25,670,394
28 Trazodone Hydrochloride 25,521,675
29 Bupropion 25,061,016
30 Rosuvastatin Calcium 24,760,853
31 Carvedilol 24,317,622
32 Prednisone 24,212,143
33 Ibuprofen 24,062,089
34 Fluoxetine Hydrochloride 23,867,188
35 Warfarin 23,420,139
36 Clopidogrel Bisulfate 23,271,222
37 Hydrochlorothiazide/Lisinopril 23,095,053
38 Pantoprazole Sodium 22,864,144
39 Zolpidem Tartrate 22,399,740
40 Meloxicam 21,630,829
41 Clonazepam 21,068,437
42 Glipizide 20,700,897
43 Cyclobenzaprine Hydrochloride 20,610,429
44 Insulin Glargine 20,384,788
45 Escitalopram Oxalate 19,639,202
46 Aspirin 18,251,902
47 Ethinyl Estradiol/Norgestimate 17,831,558
48 Venlafaxine Hydrochloride 17,385,388
49 Fluticasone Propionate/Salmeterol Xinafoate 16,419,775
50 Ranitidine 16,215,474
51 Fenofibrate 16,184,872
52 Tamsulosin Hydrochloride 16,068,805
53 Lorazepam 15,947,170
54 Amphetamine 15,905,051
55 Methylphenidate 15,505,256
56 Duloxetine 15,048,113
57 Paroxetine 15,020,665
58 Esomeprazole 14,963,819
59 Naproxen 14,371,092
60 Ethinyl Estradiol/Norethindrone 14,183,810
61 Hydrochlorothiazide/Losartan Potassium 14,028,830
62 Oxycodone 13,888,026
63 Allopurinol 13,714,793
64 Estradiol 13,220,499
65 Lovastatin 12,970,784
66 Glimepiride 12,859,036
67 Diltiazem Hydrochloride 12,853,214
68 Lamotrigine 12,705,157
69 Cetirizine Hydrochloride 12,369,433
70 Quetiapine Fumarate 11,456,968
71 Ergocalciferol 11,170,882
72 Clonidine 11,132,422
73 Pregabalin 11,069,546
74 Tiotropium 11,046,497
75 Hydrochlorothiazide/Triamterene 10,970,464
76 Loratadine 10,785,216
77 Amitriptyline 10,518,139
78 Folic Acid 10,404,775
79 Topiramate 10,284,071
80 Spironolactone 10,225,679
81 Insulin Aspart 10,220,895
82 Budesonide/Formoterol 10,150,634
83 Propranolol Hydrochloride 9,858,069
84 Ciprofloxacin 9,312,320
85 Diclofenac 9,162,791
86 Diazepam 9,134,522
87 Valsartan 8,880,976
88 Ezetimibe 8,782,265
89 Enalapril Maleate 8,768,774
90 Alendronate Sodium 8,459,284
91 Lisdexamfetamine Dimesylate 8,394,654
92 Cephalexin 7,886,065
93 Hydroxyzine 7,812,728
94 Latanoprost 7,594,870
95 Buspirone Hydrochloride 7,560,250
96 Desogestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol 7,537,023
97 Isosorbide Mononitrate 7,514,558
98 Ramipril 7,511,222
99 Ferrous Sulfate 7,422,924
100 Tizanidine 7,411,430
101 Benazepril Hydrochloride 7,389,230
102 Divalproex Sodium 7,299,035
103 Celecoxib 7,283,822
104 Finasteride 7,192,989
105 Morphine 7,172,178
106 Sitagliptin Phosphate 7,162,884
107 Oxybutynin 7,057,593
108 Donepezil Hydrochloride 7,003,989
109 Estrogens, Conjugated 6,938,375
110 Nifedipine 6,887,747
111 Docusate 6,797,829
112 Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim 6,761,996
113 Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium 6,733,526
114 Doxycycline 6,712,475
115 Mometasone 6,652,178
116 Mirtazapine 6,562,967
117 Ondansetron 6,548,132
118 Pioglitazone Hydrochloride 6,528,320
119 Aripiprazole 6,520,070
120 Verapamil Hydrochloride 6,473,461
121 Glyburide 6,365,008
122 Hydrochlorothiazide/Valsartan 6,148,007
123 Famotidine 6,091,332
124 Cyanocobalamin 6,035,870
125 Hydralazine Hydrochloride 5,946,943
126 Methocarbamol 5,908,995
127 Digoxin 5,860,786
128 Risperidone 5,798,068
129 Cholecalciferol/Alpha-Tocopherol 5,757,506
130 Levetiracetam 5,493,521
131 Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate 5,473,857
132 Amlodipine Besylate/Benazepril Hydrochloride 5,450,572
133 HCTZ/Propranolol Hydrochloride 5,401,115
134 Testosterone 5,336,442
135 Sumatriptan 5,309,154
136 Levofloxacin 5,163,786
137 Hydrocortisone 5,157,370
138 Insulin Lispro 5,016,277
139 Prednisolone 5,012,933
140 Omega-3-acid Ethyl Esters 5,004,832
141 Nebivolol Hydrochloride 4,961,230
142 Lansoprazole 4,895,439
143 Nitroglycerin 4,871,946
144 Temazepam 4,796,392
145 Insulin Detemir 4,772,951
146 Baclofen 4,764,197
147 Doxazosin Mesylate 4,676,441
148 Gemfibrozil 4,660,294
149 Terazosin 4,505,687
150 Promethazine Hydrochloride 4,463,067
151 Carisoprodol 4,459,908
152 Albuterol Sulfate/Ipratropium Bromide 4,445,835
153 Ropinirole Hydrochloride 4,438,220
154 Triamcinolone 4,419,530
155 Drospirenone/Ethinyl Estradiol 4,415,217
156 Phenytoin 4,310,313
157 Acyclovir 4,248,866
158 Atenolol/Chlorthalidone 4,181,880
159 Ethinyl Estradiol/Levonorgestrel 4,170,689
160 Oxcarbazepine 4,148,660
161 Benzonatate 4,140,925
162 Brimonidine Tartrate 4,112,850
163 Methylprednisolone 4,109,314
164 Meclizine Hydrochloride 4,088,295
165 Lithium 4,058,703
166 Benztropine Mesylate 4,023,387
167 Olmesartan Medoxomil 4,016,252
168 Sodium 3,985,912
169 Sodium Fluoride 3,977,009
170 Phentermine 3,942,606
171 Clindamycin 3,914,663
172 Fluconazole 3,834,200
173 Budesonide 3,808,496
174 Rivaroxaban 3,776,704
175 Clobetasol Propionate 3,749,794
176 Calcium 3,745,361
177 Travoprost 3,735,625
178 Amiodarone Hydrochloride 3,641,444
179 Nortriptyline Hydrochloride 3,621,356
180 Memantine Hydrochloride 3,618,231
181 Ezetimibe/Simvastatin 3,612,666
182 Penicillin V 3,577,360
183 Mesalamine 3,530,952
184 Magnesium 3,509,192
185 Guaifenesin 3,456,761
186 Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride 3,451,191
187 Thyroid 3,405,708
188 Dabigatran Etexilate Mesylate 3,374,192
189 Metformin HCl/Sitagliptin Phosphate 3,361,621
190 Beclomethasone 3,283,291
191 Quinapril 3,276,073
192 Valacyclovir 3,269,988
193 Ipratropium 3,256,722
194 Chlorthalidone 3,226,084
195 Liraglutide 3,212,290
196 Dexmethylphenidate Hydrochloride 3,194,849
197 Anastrozole 3,146,379
198 Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride 3,128,326
199 Nystatin 3,127,950
200 Desvenlafaxine 3,077,312


References
 
Kane S. "ClinCalc DrugStats Database." ClinCalc DrugStats Database. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.
 
Kane S. "Introducing the ClinCalc DrugStats Database and the 2017 Top 200 Drugs." ClinCalc. 17 Feb. 2017.
 
Guerra T. How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors. Ankeny, IA: Ankeny Healthcare Communications, LLC, 2016. Print.
 
Guerra T. Memorizing Pharmacology: A Relaxed Approach. Raleigh, NC: Lulu.com, 2016. Print.
 
 
 


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