There is considerable controversy about the classification and nomenclature of somatostatin receptors. To date, five distinct receptor genes have been cloned and named chronologically according to their respective publication dates, but two were unfortunately given the same appellation (SSTR4). Consensually, a nomenclature for the recombinant receptors has been agreed according to IUPHAR guidelines (sst1, sst2, sst3, sst4, and sst5). However, a more informative classification is to be preferred for the future, employing all classification criteria in an integrated scheme. It is already apparent that the five recombinant receptors fall into two classes or groups, on the basis of not only structure but also pharmacological characteristics. One class (already referred to by some as SRIF1) appears to comprise sst2, sst3 and sst5 receptor subtypes. The other class (SRIF2) appears to comprise the other two recombinant receptor subtypes (sst1 and sst4). This promising approach is discussed but it is acknowledged that much more data from endogenous receptors in whole tissues are needed before further recommendations on somatostatin receptor nomenclature can be made.