Investigating drug classes in biomedical terminologies from the perspective of clinical decision support

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2010 Nov 13;2010:56-60.


Objectives: To assess whether 1) the necessary drug classes and 2) the necessary drug-class membership relations are represented in biomedical terminologies in order to support clinical decision regarding drug-drug interactions.

Methods: In order to investigate drug classes and drug-class membership in clinical terminologies, we start by establishing a reference list of these entities. Then, we map drugs and classes to the UMLS, where we investigate their relations.

Results: 186 (83%) of the 223 names for drug classes mapped to the UMLS. The single best source is SNOMED CT with 75%. 140 (89%) of the 157 drug-membership relations were found in the UMLS.

Conclusions: One important category of drug classes missing from all clinical terminologies is related to drug metabolism by the Cytochrome P450 enzyme family.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Humans
  • Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine
  • Unified Medical Language System*
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*