As drugs are developed they are given many different names, but the drug (or treatment) is the same despite its name. For us laymen, multiple names for the same drug is confusing. So, why are there so many different names for the same thing?

Drugs usually have three different names;

  • A chemical name that relates to its molecular composition, which is often to long to use in everyday interactions.
  • A generic name that is non proprietary or can be used by anyone and
  • A trade name, which is a propriety name (which is owned by the drug company that owns the drug’s patent).

Trade names are made by the drug company and must be approved by the FDA (in the United States). Usually, the FDA is tough in their approval in order to avoid unintentional mix ups, rejecting about four out of every ten name proposals.

So how do we explain our little prostate cancer confusion with Xgeva, Xofigo and Xtandi?  I don’t know the answer to this question and I too am often confused.

Since we often refer to prostate cancer drugs by either their generic or brand name it can be confusing. So, here is a FDA newly approved prostate cancer drug cheat sheet to help you navigate the world of drug name confusion.

Generic Name Brand Name Therapy Typ