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Chemotherapy drug names

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This page explains about chemotherapy drug names. There is a list of all our cancer drug pages in the cancer treatment section. There is information on this page about

 

A guide to what's on this page

Drugs have a generic name and may also have one or more brand names. The generic name is the chemical name of the drug, for example, paracetamol. The brand or trade name is the name given to the drug by the company that makes it, such as Panadol or Calpol

If a drug is made by more than one company, it will have more than one brand name.

Combination chemotherapy names

Doctors often treat cancer with a combination of chemotherapy drugs. And sometimes also with other medicines, such as steroids or biological therapies. The drug combinations they use are often named with a word made up from the first letters of the drug names. This type of made up word is called an acronym. Ask your doctor what each letter stands for and get them to write down the individual names of each drug. This will make it easier for you to find information about them.

PDF Download symbol You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the About Chemotherapy section.

 

Generic names and brand names

Drugs have a generic name and may also have one or more brand names

  • The generic name is the chemical name of the drug, for example, paracetamol
  • The brand or trade name is the name given to the drug by the company that makes the drug, such as Panadol or Calpol

Drugs may be made by more than one company and so may have more than one brand name. For some drugs the brand or trade name is the most commonly used name. For other drugs the generic name is most often used. You can ask your chemotherapy nurse, pharmacist or doctor to tell you the generic name and the brand names of the drug they are using in your treatment.

 

Combination chemotherapy names

Doctors often treat cancer with 2 or more chemotherapy drugs. And sometimes with other medicines, such as steroids or biological therapies. The drug combinations they use are often named with a word made up from the first letters of the drug names. This type of made up word is called an acronym. The links below all take you to specific side effect information about each drug. 

Some combination chemotherapy names are simple, like MIC

One acronym that is not so obvious is

CHOP

If your doctor gives you one of these acronyms, you can ask them to explain what each letter stands for. It is a good idea to ask them to write down the drug names in full. Many cancer drug names begin with the same letter, and it is important to be sure you know which drugs you are having.

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Updated: 19 March 2013