Drug Prefixes, Roots, And Suffixes

By | May 4, 2017

Learning a “handful” of prefixes and suffixes will save you headaches, time, and pain when it comes to nursing pharmacology.

We all know that -pril belongs to ACE inhibitors, but MOST drug classes have common prefixes and suffixes and once you learn the most important ones you will be able to quickly identify a medication by class.

It is important to learn nursing considerations and side effects by class . . . then learn the most common prefixes and suffixes. With this knowledge in hand you can easily save yourself HOURS and HOURS of lost study time.

Why are drug name endings good to know? Well, there’s a couple of main reasons. The first is that they can help you to memorize the Top  drugs generic names. And equally important, they can lend a big clue about what the drug is used for. For example, on the pharmacy tech test, you might get a question where they tell you a drug’s brand name and then ask what it most likely is prescribed for. If you can relate it to the generic name and it contains one of these suffixes, that will tell you which of the four multiple choice answers to choose. Also, once you’re working in a pharmacy, you’ll also need to know these Top  drugs endings.


This list is not a complete list of all of the common generic name suffixes, but just the ones you’ll want to know for taking the PTCB or ExCPT exam. They are basically derived from the top drug lists found on this website.

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