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Pharmacology can be a difficult subject due to the numerous drug names and facts that are required to be committed to memory. Fortunately, generic names tend to follow patterns, with prefixes and suffixes to help determine which class of medications they belong to. An example is the class angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) which all end in the suffix ‘-pril’ such as lisinoPRIL or benazaPRIL.

Learning the roots of common medication classes can definitely come in handy as it can save time from having to memorize every single drug on the market. Instead, you can group them into classes and identify them based on the prefix or suffix. This can be helpful as drug classes often share common contraindications, black box warnings, and side effects, all of which are commonly tested.

Learning and recognizing these prefixes and suffixes could SAVE you on an exam and is a subject that may or may not be emphasized enough in pharmacy, nursing, or medical school.

Check out the list below of the top 25 drug roots you need to know. If you are on the lookout for the best way to study for this, check out our drug suffix cheat sheet here that can serve as a great reference guide or if folded down the middle can be used in flashcard format to quiz yourself!