Drug name psychology, or the power of Z

You know about those product-naming experts who charge hundreds of thousands for just the right combinations of vowels and consonants. Well, the Associated Press today draws the curtain aside to reveal just which levers these experts are pulling.

For instance, did you know every letter has a personality? There's Z for speed -- think quick relief from cholesterol with Zocor, from depression with Prozac and Zoloft, from allergies with Zyrtec. Then there's L, R, and S to calm and relax; why else would so many mental health drugs lean on them? Hard consonants like P, T, and K connote effectiveness; hence effective clot-busting with Plavix, effective germ-fighting with Tamiflu, effective HIV-busting with Kaletra. Then there's the all-important letter X, the science guy. Naturally, it graces many names with a white-lab-coat feel: Lexapro, Xolair, Celexa, Zyprexa, Fosamax.

From letters, we move to syllables--two or three--and overall symbolism. Last month, Eli Lilly dubbed its new heart drug Effient (think efficient). Overt symbolism like that is better, the experts say, than the type that plucks at the subconscious. No matter what subliminal advertising nuts claim.

- read the article from the Associated Press