‘Soothia,’ ‘Lessertee’ - Meet the NJ man who comes up with prescription names

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MONTCLAIR -

Have you ever wondered how prescription drugs get their unusual names?

There’s Lunestra, Nexium, Humira – dozens of these names were made up by Montclair-based Optibrand Rx, a drug marketing consultant company.

Executive Vice President Dominick Cirigliano says that he basically makes up words for a living.

“My grammar and spelling is really bad. I'm so used to taking real words and making up words that it affects you,” he says.

Cirigliano says that some of the names have actual science behind them, such as Humera.

“It was the first humanized monoclonal antibody, meaning it wasn’t derived from animals,” he says.

Other names function as instructions for a doctor.

“Adlyxin is a good one. It tells you how to use the product. The generic name is Lixisenatide, so the name is ‘ad lixi to insulin,’” Cirigliano says.

And as for the names that are just made up?

“We call those blank canvas. No meaning at all, just completely made up,” says Cirigliano.

While visiting Optibrand Rx, News 12’s Brian Donohue asked Cirigliano to come up with some names for drugs to cure some common New Jersey ailments.

Indigestion caused by traffic? Try “Relaxa” or “Soothia.”

Anxiety caused by high property taxes? Ask your doctor about “Lessertee.”

But for real prescription drugs, Cirigliano says that there are strict guidelines for a new name, including making sure that the name is not similar to the name of another drug, to prevent patients from confusing them.

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