RxNorm is a catalog of the standard names given to clinical drugs and drug delivery devices in the United States to enable interoperability and clear communication between electronic systems, regardless of software and hardware compatibility.

The name of each drug is a compilation of its active ingredients, strength and form. Each combination, therefore, has a unique RxNorm name. For example, a 500mg tablet of Ibuprofen has a different name than a 100mg tablet of Ibuprofen.

RxNorm provides links to drug components and related generic and brand name drugs for each entry and also gives links to the National Drug Code numbers, providing a compilation of sometimes multiple codes in one central location. In addition, there are links to other common pharmacy management and drug interaction software, such as Micromedex and First Databank, as well as the Unified Medical Language System’s (UMLS) Metathesaurus, so that names used by such software are connected to the standard RxNorm name.

Produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), RxNorm is available for distribution in both Metathesaurus Relation (MR) and Rich Release Format (RRF) tables. Currently there are no RxNorm names available for drugs with more than four active ingredients, those that are sold over the counter (OTC) or those that are international, due to the lack of appropriate information available about such drugs. 


See also: SNOMED CT, LOINC, Clinical Document Architecture (CDA)

Contributor(s): Brita Van Fossen
This was last updated in September 2011
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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