|Why use the INN (International Nonprorietary Name)
rather than the brand name of a medicine?
For Medicines in Europe Forum, the INN is a common language,
clear and independent of commercial branding. The European legislation
should make it compulsory for the packaging and all documents
relating to medicines, including advertising aimed at health
professionals, to mention INNs in a legible manner.
List of leaflets
Medicines in Europe Forum
INN or International Nonproprietary Name refers to the active ingredient
of a pharmaceutical preparation. This name is common throughout the
world, whereas the brand name (or commercial name) is often different
in order to be more acceptable and widely sold in such and such a
create a universal language, to avoid mistakes and to make life
easier for those patients who travel, the World Health Organisation
(WHO) set up the system of INN in the 1950's.
use of the INN by the doctor, pharmacist and patient allows each
one of them to fully understand the contents of the medication that
is prescribed, dispensed and used. This clarification means that
the patient is less likely to take a double dose (or more) by mistake,
for example, by taking the same substance under two different brand
names, either as self medication, or through a prescription from
another doctor. Indeed, severe overdoses have been reported, for
example with medicines for hypertension such as diltiazem or verapamil.
For those patients allergic to a particular medicine, the use of
the INN helps them to avoid taking this medicine under a different
brand name (without knowing) and therefore avoids the risk of a
serious problem. Amoxicillin, a penicillin-based antibiotic, is
commonly available under several brand names that are a cause for
using the INN you can make savings when you organise your medicine
cabinet. Not only can you compare the prices of medicines with their
generic equivalents, but also avoid buying several medicines that
contain the same substance.
those curious enough, the INN is full of information. It contains
a prefix and/or a suffix indicating the therapeutic family of the
substance. Thus, people can better understand the kind of medicine
used, what it is used for, when and why to take it or why not to