A group of influential organizations are beginning an effort to change the entire way that psychiatric medications are named, according to a press release from the European College of Neuropsycho-pharmacology. “Doctors have found that the name of the drug you are prescribed significantly influences how the patient sees the treatment,” stated the press release.
The organizations proposing the new system include the European, International, American and Asian colleges of neuropsychopharmacology. They are suggesting shifting from symptom based names like antidepressant or antipsychotic to pharmacologically based names that focus on the pharmacological target (e.g. serotonin, dopamine etc) and the mode of action.
“In psychiatry, drug names can cause more problems than they solve; for example, a patient may be being treated for anxiety, and yet may be prescribed an ‘antidepressant’ or an ‘antipsychotic,’ and the stigma of being prescribed an antipsychotic can make the patient even more anxious,” stated the press release. “Often this means that patients stop taking the drug for fear of the association with the different disease.” The proposed change “also means that drug names will be more understandable to doctors.”
The statement indicated that a conference presentation about the new system “marks the start of a process of discussion and negotiation between academics, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, and regulatory bodies.” The new naming system would also provide other information, along 4 components or axes. “Axis 1 describes pharmacological target and mode of action. Axis 2 describes approved indications – what the drug is used for. Axis 3 describes efficacy and major side effects. Axis 4 gives the neurobiological description.”
I have anxiety, why is my doctor prescribing an antipsychotic? (European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Press Release on EurekAlert, October 16, 2014)