12 Difficult-to-Pronounce Drug Names, Part 2


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


Nabumetone (na BYOO me tone)

What medication names are missing from the list? Tweet them to me @toshea125.


  • Lexicomp Online®, Lexi-Drugs®, Hudson, Ohio: Lexi-Comp, Inc.; January 26, 2017.

Related Videos
cropped view of man performing chest compression on dummy during cpr training class - Image credit: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS | stock.adobe.com
Medicine law concept. Judges gavel with pills | Image Credit: Iren Moroz - stock.adobe.com
Image credit: New Africa | stock.adobe.com
biosimilar word or concept represented by wooden letter tiles on a wooden table with glasses and a book | Image Credit: lexiconimages - stock.adobe.com
Image credit: alicja neumiler | stock.adobe.com
Laboratory test tubes and solution with stethoscope background | Image Credit: Shutter2U - stock.adobe.com
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot | stock.adobe.com
Pharmacist holding medicine box and capsule pack in pharmacy drugstore. -- Image credit: I Viewfinder | stock.adobe.com
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.