Pharmacological Onomastics: What's in a name?
Article first published online: 29 JAN 2009
2008 British Pharmacological Society
British Journal of Pharmacology
Volume 153, Issue 3, pages 432–438, February 2008
How to Cite
Kenakin, T. P. (2008), Pharmacological Onomastics: What's in a name?. British Journal of Pharmacology, 153: 432–438. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0707407
- Issue published online: 29 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 29 JAN 2009
- (Received April 20, 2007, Revised June 12, 2007, Accepted July 16, 2007)
- drug nomenclature;
- receptor agonists and antagonists;
- drug classification
Drugs are named for their primary receptor target and overt action (agonism, antagonism) but the observation of multiple or collateral efficacies emanating from drugs activating a single receptor target is posing a challenge for drug classification and nomenclature. With increasing abilities to detect alteration in cellular function has come the identification of efficacies that are not necessarily manifest in obvious changes in cell response. Specifically, some agonists selectively activate cellular pathways, demonstrate phenotypic behaviour associated with cell type and some antagonists actively induce receptor internalization without activation. In addition, the effects of allosteric modulators can be linked to the nature of the co-binding ligand posing a similar complication in classification and naming. Thus, accurate labels for this new generation of selective drugs may require identification of receptor partners (G-protein type, β-arrestin) or pathway or, in the case of allosteric modulators, identification of co-binding ligands. The association of distinct phenotypic behaviours with molecules opens the opportunity to better associate clinical effects with distinct pharmacological properties.
British Journal of Pharmacology (2008) 153, 432–438; doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707407; published online 13 August 2007