Analyzing U.S. prescription lists with RxNorm and the ATC/DDD Index

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2014 Nov 14;2014:297-306. eCollection 2014.


Objectives: To evaluate the suitability of the ATC/DDD Index (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification System/Defined Daily Dose) for analyzing prescription lists in the U.S.

Methods: We mapped RxNorm clinical drugs to ATC. We used this mapping to classify a large set of prescription drugs with ATC and compared the prescribed daily dose to the defined daily dose (DDD) in ATC.

Results: 64% of the 11,422 clinical drugs could be precisely mapped to ATC. 97% of the 87,001 RxNorm codes from the prescription dataset could be classified with ATC, and 97% of the prescribed daily doses could be assessed.

Conclusions: Although the mapping of RxNorm ingredients to ATC appears to be largely incomplete, the most frequently prescribed drugs in the prescription dataset we analyzed were covered. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using ATC in conjunction with RxNorm for analyzing U.S. prescription datasets for drug classification and assessment of the prescribed daily doses.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Coding
  • Prescription Drugs / classification*
  • RxNorm*
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • United States


  • Prescription Drugs