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How do I pronounce that?

There is no doubt that some words in the pharmacy industry can be a challenge to pronounce. While pronunciation may not be high on your list of priorities, having a common way to pronounce words provides patients with a clear understanding and helps to improve health literacy. Imagine how confusing it would be to have your doctor, pharmacist and pharmacy assistant offer three different pronunciations of the same word.

And while Mr Smith is comfortable asking for his genetic or geriatric medicine every month, what are you, as a pharmacy assistant, supposed to say?

Here is a list of commonly mispronounced words to test your knowledge.

Commonly mispronounced over-the-counter drug names

Drug nameCorrect pronunciation
cetirizineSet-iri-zine
ibuprofenEye-byu-pro-fen
mebendazoleMe-bend-a-zole
clotrimazoleClo-trim-a-zole
doxylamineDox-eye-la-meen
guaifenesinGwarf-en-a-sin
dexchlorpheniramineDex-klor-fen-era-meen
dextromethorphanDex-tro-meth-or-fan

 Tips to say drug names with confidence

  • Break the name down into smaller parts, ensuring each part is said
  • Practice using the name when speaking to customers (over the brand name)
  • Look up the drug on a database with pronunciation such as drugs.com
  • Check with your pharmacist

Customers who mispronounce

Its important to not discourage customers from saying drug names. Using drug names over brand names ensures clarity, especially when a substitute brand must be given. While the topic of pronunciation can often be breached in a jovial way, continually correcting customers and telling them they have said something wrong is not the recommended approach. When a customer is struggling to say a drug name, you can empathise with them “that is a tricky one!” or help them out “some names are tricky! This one is pronounced this way”.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to use drug names!

Are you unsure how to pronounce a drug name or pharmacy term? Leave a comment below and we will help you out.

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