What Does "Pheno" Mean In Phenobarbital?

The pharmacist discusses what the prefix "pheno" means in phenobarbital

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Jul 11, 2018

Tony asked

Our professor mentioned SI conversions and gave us an example of a person who received a lethal dose of phenobarbital due to a conversion error. I know what a barbiturate is, however I hear the term "pheno" as a prefix to a variety of compounds. What exactly does "pheno" mean or indicate about a compound?

Answer

The prefix "pheno" simply refers to a drug compound that is derived from benzene. If you look at the chemical structure for phenobarbital, you will notice that it contains a benzene ring. Other "pheno" compounds include:

  • Phenol
  • Phenolsulfonic Acid
  • Phenooxybenzamine
  • Diphenoxylate

Benzene ring:

Benzene

Phenobarbital:

Phenobarbital

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