How much knowledge will a Doctor have about different trade names of the same drug

My cousin who was in the US on a visit, had a pretty bad allergy attack. Not the first time. He mentioned to the Doctor that he took Telfast and the doctor had no idea which drug it was (its known as Allegra in the US) and had to look it up. No problem, was cleared up in about 2 minutes. But got me thinking, how much knowledge would a doctor have about the various trade names especially if all the knowledge he has about the drug is given from the patient and has no idea what the chemical name is?

And some drugs have many many different trade names; Esomeprazole for instance has more than 150.

I wouldn’t expect country specific trade names to be known at all, chemical names are more likely to be known.

I remember non-US pharmacists being baffled by my Primatene Mist inhaler, not the brand name but that epinephrine would be used in an inhaler.(I was attempting to find a locally available epinephrine inhaler).

I’d think that’d be more the domain of a pharmacist, not a doctor.

Hence the question refers to “Doctor”:wink:

Illegal in the US as of 12/31/11. That piddling amount of propellant was destroying the atmosphere. :rolleyes: But a study I’m too lazy to look up claimed that epinephrine (my people call it “adrenaline”) are safer than the prescription albuterol ones. So I stocked up on Primatene, except I think my wife raided my stash.

I had FIVE of the goddamned things, enough to last me months.I can’t even find an empty one. Which is in keeping with the car keys and toenail clippers she has lost IN THE HOUSE. You shouldn’t be able to walk in here without stepping on one or the other.

But docs, in my experience, have a good handle on the main trade and generic names of all I take, but you probably have more experience with the drug than he does so I’d be careful.

There must be a reference book somewhere which tells you which drug it is. Or perhaps the name is a clue.

Of course there is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicians’_Desk_Reference is a standard text in the USA, there is also the internet and medical libraries.

I thought your question was how common is it for a doctor to know it off hand.

IANAD, but in my experience, they tend to know the primary brand name(s) (e.g. Advil and Motrin) as well as the common chemical name (ibuprofen) but aren’t likely to know of any “brand name” another company such as a generics or foreign company might use. When travelling in different countries, it’s a good idea to know the common chemical names of your medications.

I used Primate Mist for years. It made my heart race. When I got bronchitis, I finally saw a doctor who specialized in breathing issues and he told me to stop immediately, gave me a corticosteroid to use daily as a preventive, and albuterol in case of emergency. I used to take the Primatene several times a day. Now I never use my emergency inhaler.

Every doctor I’ve been to knows the generic name of whatever drug they have prescribed me.

YMMV but I’ve had asthma since I was five and Primatene Mist is absolutely useless as a preventive medicine, but absolutely AMAZING as an emergency rescue inhaler. If you are having a severe attack which will happen at some point the only thing that helps me is epinephrine inhalers.

I moved away from the USA and didn’t bother to have my family send me any Primatene Mist, I started relying only on albuterol which wasn’t effective but I was complacent I admit and didn’t want to bother my family. This lead to me having an asthma attack so severe the albuterol did nothing, I actually passed out from lack of oxygen and was out for 3-5 minutes. I was white with blue extremities, my BIL who is a firefighter was sure CPR would not bring me around, he was sure I was gone and dead. Ambulance never made it, eventually someone noticed I had the faintest of faint breathing after CPR and I was taken to a hospital ER where an injection of…wait for it…epinephrine brought me around(along with nebulizer).

The doctors advised me to just keep using the albuterol as I had been and if this near fatal episode repeats just pop back into the ER:smack:

Needless to say I had my family send me part of my Primatene Stockpile, It was a scary few days until I had it in my hand. Epi pens are not sold locally at all period, we are still thinking of getting one somehow(my wife is traumatized still more than I am even) and we live on a mountain with no hope of timely ambulance service.

Sorry for the hijack but any doctor that says epinephrine is useless for emergency asthma attacks is full of shit, prevention is ideal but sometimes even with the most careful attention something will happen.

I never said Primatene was preventive medicine or that it doesn’t work. I was told by a Pulmonologist that it’s BAD for people (and this was 20 years ago), especially if taken for years and years like I did, and it in fact stopped working for me. I ended up in the ER as well, and spent a few days in the hospital until I could breathe somewhat normally again. I’m sure there are other options than albuterol for emergencies, and I haven’t needed my emergency inhaler for as long as I can remember since I got a real preventive drug that I take daily.

(Also sorry for the hijack.)

I would not expect a doctor to know this offhand.

I would expect a *good *doctor to whip out his iPhone and look it up real quick like, though.

Yup. And they’ll have to use Google, because commonly used pharmaceutical reference apps like Epocrates don’t include foreign trade names for medications.

Yeah, my Epocrates doesn’t even have paracetamol, the international generic name for what we in the US call acetaminophen.

My PA (Physician Assistant) and I were discussing changing the statin I’m on the other day and she whipped out a PDA with, I assumed, the PDR on it.

Much more reassuring than crossing her fingers and hoping she remembered what she was looking up!

CMC fnord!
Also sorry for the hijack,

My first rescue inhaler was a Ventolin Rotahaler (very similar to Spiriva and the other dry powdered inhalers), I found the change to a chlorofluorocarbon powered RI not fun. The hydrofluoroalkane is much easier on my lungs than the CFCs were, MMOV I guess.

Huh. That surprises me, actually. My 2010 Nursing Spectrum Drug Handbook (really must update, but google’s so easy…) has Telfast. But paracetamol is listed as an alternate name under acetaminophen, but not searchable in the index of monographs. Weird.

What surprises me most about the situation in the OP is that Telfast is the name used pretty much all over except in NA. It’s not just a local name. So that at least I thought the Doctor should have known.

I can kind of confirm this for New Zealand, too. It was a different title, and based on an English source, but my friend spent a part of last year checking for the updated book to buy for her doctor husband as a gift

And to make it extra fun, some medications are known by two different chemical names but the same brand - e.g. acetominophen / paracetamol (Tylenol and generics), albuterol and salbutamol (Ventolin / Provent).

I was in the UK recently and was running out of my my BP medication. Luckily, I had a copy of the prescription, and the Doc took a few minutes with the Boy’s Big Book of Drugs to figure out what the trade name was over there.