"G"ee - What's in a Name?

Medical Author: Ruchi Mathur, M.D.
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Have you ever noticed how so many medications for the treatment of diabetes start with the letter "G"? There's Glucophage, Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL, Glucovance, Glynase, Glyset.... What's that all about?! I guess somewhere along the way someone decided that since the scientific name for "blood sugar" is "G"lucose, a treatment for diabetes should start with the same letter. The trend caught on.

While the concept of making the first letter the same for all of these drugs sounds appealing initially (a way to categorize perhaps), it really creates quite a problem. I can't tell you how many times patients have said: "I can't remember the name of my diabetes medication, but I know it starts with a 'G'." This is certainly no fault of the patient...It's hard enough to remember the names of the medications, never mind when a doctor tries to jog your memory by providing a list of possibilities that all sound the same!