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Quiz: Can You Tell the Difference Between Rx Drugs and Science Fiction?

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Wellbutrin, Lunesta, Adderall. The names of prescription medications can be a mouthful to pronounce and, even worse, too confusing to be remembered by consumers who need to know what pills they are popping. The irony is that drug-company marketing departments spend fortunes to develop names that are supposed to be consumer-friendly and are intended to evoke the promise of the drug’s effect.

Wellbutrin (an antidepressant) will make you feel well. Lunesta (an anti-insomnia drug) will make you sleepy (luna means moon in Latin). Adderall (for ADD, attention deficit disorder) will treat all the problems of ADD. Here is a sample from a telling quiz by The Week. The names listed sound like things from science fiction. Some are. Others are the names of drugs. Can you guess which are which? (Answers below.)

1. Alixia: Non-human female? Or cancer chemotherapy?

2. Arborlon: City? Or cream for itching?

3. Autloc: Aztec priest? Or blood pressure medication?

4. Caelyx: Magical being? Or cancer chemotherapy?

5. Dannyl: Magician? Or prostate medication?


1. Alixia is the sister of Neelix in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

2. Arborlon is a city in The Shannara Chronicles series of books by David Brooks.

3. Autloc is an Aztec priest in an episode of Dr. Who.

4. Caelyx is cancer chemotherapy (generic name doxorubicin).

5. Dannyl is a magician in The Novice, by Trudi Cannavan.


To continue with the quiz, click here.