prescription medication

This article will discuss how you might see drug names listed on your NCLEX questions.

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Does NCLEX Use Trade Names or Generic Names?

The NCLEX will use the generic names of drugs more often than not. Generic names tend to be more consistent across the board, thereby creating less confusion on the exam.

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Using the Generic Name Causes Less Confusion

student reviewing and thinking

According to the NCSBN, they prefer to use the generic name for a drug because it causes less confusion and is more consistent across the board.

When you think about it, this makes sense. Trade names (or brand names) can vary when talking about the same drug.

Here's an Example

Take for instance Ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) commonly used to treat minor aches, pains, and fever.

As widely used as it is, Ibuprofen is marketed under many different trade names.

For instance:

Advil
Motrin
  • Advil
  • Motrin

Just to name a few.

As you can hopefully see, it's a lot less confusing just to use Ibuprofen when referring to this particular pharmaceutical drug.

Brand and Trade Name Usage May Vary

It's also important to note that brand usage will vary.

For instance, I've worked at certain hospitals where a particular brand was used for a drug, and then when I worked for another hospital (same city), that hospital was using another brand of the same medicine.

You read that right:

  • Same drug.
  • Same usage indication.
  • Same city.

There's no telling why that was the case. It could have been physician preferences or money reasons for the facility.

Regardless of the reason. It does happen.

The Goal of the NCLEX

Remember, the goal of the NCLEX is to test your knowledge and make sure you can practice as a safe nurse, not to confuse you.

That's why they make some of the decisions they do. This one is no different.

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Check out the comprehensive NCLEX prep review that I recommend. Don't bother with other NCLEX preps that over promise and under deliver. Did I mention they have a 99.86% NCLEX pass rate?

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