A proposal for an updated neuropsychopharmacological nomenclature

Joseph Zohar, David J. Nutt, David J. Kupfer, Hans Jurgen Moller, Shigeto Yamawaki, Michael Spedding, Stephen M. Stahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Current psychopharmacological nomenclature remains wedded in an earlier period of scientific understanding, failing to reflect contemporary developments and knowledge, does not aid clinicians in selecting the best medication for a given patient, and tends to confuse patients by prescribing a drug that does not reflect their identified diagnosis (e.g. prescribe "antipsychotics" to depression). Four major colleges of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP, ACNP, Asian CNP, and CINP) proposed a new template comprising a multi-axial pharmacologically-driven nomenclature tested by four surveys. The template has five axes: 1-class (primary pharmacological target and relevant mechanism); 2-family (reflecting the relevant neurotransmitter and mechanism); 3-neurobiological activities; 4-efficacy and major side effects; and 5-approved indications. The results of the surveys suggest that the clinicians found the available indication-based nomenclature system dissatisfactory, non-intuitive, confusing, and doubt-inducing for them and the patients. The proposed five-axis template seeks to upend current usage by placing pharmacology rather than indication as the primary axes, with the proposed nomenclature relating primarily to Axis 1-the class, and usage of the other axes would largely depend upon the extent to which the clinician seeks to deepen the scientific and clinical base of his involvement. A significant proportion of the participants in the four surveys were in favour of the proposed system, a similar number wanted to consider the idea further, and only a small proportion (8.6%) were against it. The proposed five-axis pharmacology based nomenclature template is a system which might refresh and reflect the current scientific concepts of neuropsychopharmacology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1014
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Volume24
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • 5-axis template
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Classes
  • Hypnotics
  • Nomenclature
  • Pharmacology
  • Sedatives

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