All drugs marketed in Europe are now known by their recommended International Non-proprietary (generic) Name (rINN). In the past, most publications in the UK used the now outdated British Approved Name (BAN). To aid understanding of the older literature, significant differences between BANs and rINNs are listed in Table 1. However, when the difference is simply, e.g. ‘f’ instead of ‘ph’, ‘e’ instead of ‘oe’, or ‘t’ instead of ‘th’, these generally have not been included.

In the USA, United States Adopted Names (USANs) take precedence over rINNs. USANs are also included in the Table where these differ significantly from rINNs.

With combination products such as codeine and paracetamol or diphenoxylate and atropine, the UK conventional names are shown in Table 2.

Table 1 Drug names relevant to palliative care for which the rINN, BAN and/or USAN differ
  1. silica-activated dimeticone; known in some countries as activated dimethylpolysiloxane.


Alimemazine Trimeprazine Trimeprazine
Amobarbital Amylobarbitone
Bendroflumethiazide Bendrofluazide Bendroflumethiazide
Benzylpenicillin   Penicillin G
Calcitonin (salmon) Salcatonin Calcitonin
Carmellose   Carboxymethylcellulose
Chlorphenamine Chlorpheniramine Chlorpheniramine
Clomethiazole Chlormethiazole
Dexamfetamine Dexamphetamine Dextroamphetamine
Dextropropoxyphene   Propoxyphene
Dicycloverine Dicyclomine Dicyclomine
Diethylstilbestrol Stilboestrol Diethylstilbestrol
Dosulepin Dothiepin Dothiepin
Epinephrine Adrenaline Epinephrine
Glibenclamide   Glyburide
Glycerol Glycerine Glycerin
Glyceryl trinitrate   Nitroglycerin
Hyoscine   Scopolamine
Isoprenaline   Isoproterenol
  Ispaghula Psyllium
Levomepromazine Methotrimeprazine
Levothyroxine Thyroxine
Liquid paraffin   Mineral oil
Methenamine hippurate Hexamine hippurate
Paracetamol   Acetaminophen
Pethidine   Meperidine
Phenobarbital Phenobarbitone
Phenoxymethylpenicillin   Penicillin V
Phytomenadione   Phytonadione
Retinol Vitamin A Vitamin A
Rifampicin   Rifampin
Salbutamol   Albuterol
Simeticonea Simethicone Simethicone
Sodium cromoglicate Sodium cromoglycate Cromolyn sodium
Tetracaine Amethocaine
Trihexyphenidyl Benzhexol Trihexyphenidyl
Table 2 Names of combination preparations
Contents UK name
  1. no longer marketed in the UK.
Amoxicillin-clavulanate Co-amoxiclav
Diphenoxylate-atropine Co-phenotrope
Magnesium hydroxide-aluminium hydroxidea Co-magaldrox
Paracetamol-codeine phosphate Co-codamol
Paracetamol-dextropropoxyphenea Co-proxamol
Paracetamol-dihydrocodeine Co-dydramol
Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim Co-trimoxazole