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:

 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.