12 Difficult-to-Pronounce Drug Names


With thousands of FDA-approved medications on the market, it can be difficult for pharmacists to stay up-to-date on drug name pronunciations.

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. Talimogene Laherparepvec

In October 2015, talimogene laherparepvec (Imlygic) became the first FDA-approved oncolytic virus therapy indicated for the treatment of melanoma lesions in the skin and lymph nodes. It is injected directly into the melanoma lesions, where it replicates inside cancer cells and causes them to rupture and die.


Talimogene laherparepvec (tal IM oh jeen la her pa REP vek)

2. Botulinum Toxins: OnabotulinumtoxinA, AbobotulinumtoxinA, RimabotulinumtoxinB, IncobotulinumtoxinA

Botulinum toxin types A and B can be used for the treatment of upper motor neuron syndrome, focal hyperhidrosis, chronic migraine, blepharospasm, strabismus, and cervical dystonia, among other indications. They are also widely used in cosmetic treatments.


OnabotulinumtoxinA (oh nuh BOT yoo lin num TOKS in aye)

AbobotulinumtoxinA (aye bo BOT yoo lin num TOKS in aye)

RimabotulinumtoxinB (rime uh BOT yoo lin num TOKS in bee)

IncobotulinumtoxinA (in kuh BOT yoo lin num TOKS in aye)

3. Idarucizumab

In October 2015, the FDA approved idarucizumab (Praxbind) for use in patients taking the anticoagulant dabigatran (Pradaxa) during emergency situations where there is a need to reverse the drug’s blood-thinning effects.


Idarucizumab (eye da roo SIZ uh mab)

4. Levetiracetam

Levetiracetam is an anticonvulsant for the treatment of myoclonic, partial, and tonic-clonic seizures. In August 2015, a new 3-dimensional formulation of levetiracetam (Spiritam) was developed.


Levetiracetam (lee va tye RA se tam)

5. SGLT2 Inhibitors: Dapagliflozin, Empagliflozin, Canagliflozin

Indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, these medications work by inhibiting the sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) proteins, which results in enhanced urinary glucose excretion and leads to lower glucose levels in blood.

In 2013, canagliflozin (Invokana) became the first FDA-approved SGLT2 inhibitor in the United States.


Dapagliflozin (dap a gli FLOE zin)

Empagliflozin (em pa gli FLOE zin)

Canagliflozin (kan a gli FLOE zin)

6. Isavuconazonium Sulfate

In March 2015, the FDA approved isavuconazonium sulfate (Cresemba), a new antifungal product used to treat adults with invasive aspergillosis and invasive mucormycosis.

Isavuconazonium sulfate belongs to a class of drugs called azole antifungal agents, which target the cell membrane of a fungus. It is available in oral and intravenous formulations.


Isavuconazonium sulfate (eye sa vue koe na ZOE nee um sul FATE)

7. Artemether/Lumefantrine

Artemether/lumefantrine (Coartem) is indicated for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated malaria infections due to Plasmodium falciparum. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the drug as a first-line therapy for this indication.


Artemether/lumefantrine (ar TEM e ther [and] loo me FAN treen)

8. Ustekinumab, Adalimumab

Ustekinumab (Stelara) and adalimumab (Humira) are biologic monoclonal antibodies administered by subcutaneous injection.

Adalimumab is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis, among several other conditions. Ustekinumab is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis.


Ustekinumab (yoo stek in YOO mab)

Adalimumab (a da LIM yoo mab)

9. Ombitasvir/Paritaprevir/Ritonavir + Dasabuvir

This combination of 4 antiretroviral medications is indicated for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus. In clinical studies, ombitasvir, paritaprevir, and ritonavir with dasabuvir was shown to cure 95% to 100% of subjects who took the combination with or without ribavirin.


Ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir + dasabuvir (om BIT as vir, par i TA pre vir, ri TOE na vir [plus] da SA bue vir)

10. Eszopiclone

Known for its luminescent green butterfly commercials, eszopiclone (Lunesta) is a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic indicated for the treatment of insomnia.


Eszopiclone (es zoe PIK lone)

11. Ixabepilone

Ixabepilone (Ixempra) is an epothilone B analog indicated for the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.


Ixabepilone (ix ab EP i lone)

12. Umeclidinium Bromide

Umeclidinium bromide (Incruse Ellipta) is a long-acting anticholinergic indicated for the once-daily treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is also co-formulated with vilanterol, a long-acting beta-2 agonist, as Anoro Ellipta.


Umeclidinium bromide (ue me kli DIN ee um BRO mide)

What medication names do you struggle with pronouncing? Tweet them to me @toshea125.

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