RxTerms is a drug interface terminology derived from RxNorm for prescription writing or medication history recording (e.g. in e-prescribing systems, PHRs).


The advantages of RxTerms are:

  • Free to use.
  • Directly links to RxNorm, the U.S. drug terminology standard, and facilitates inclusion of RxNorm identifiers in electronic health records.
  • Efficient data entry - RxTerms separates the full names in RxNorm into two parts: drug name + route (e.g. INDERAL (Oral-pill)) and strength + dose form (e.g. 80 MG Tabs) to avoid big picklists with excessively long names. It excludes drugs from RxNorm that are obsolete or unavailable in the U.S.* Try it here.
  • User-friendly features - commonly used synonyms and abbreviations (e.g. HCTZ for hydrochlorothiazide), "tall man" lettering recommended by FDA to avoid medication errors (e.g. ChlorproMAZINE and ChlorproPAMIDE).
  • Good coverage - retains the broad coverage of RxNorm for U.S. prescribable drugs - 99% coverage of both generic and brand names of U.S. most commonly prescribed drugs according to one assessment. RxTerms is tailored for U.S. prescribing and it might not be the right choice for many non-U.S. countries.

RxTerms is developed and maintained by the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, NLM. Please directly email comments or questions to: NLM Support Center.

* Availability in U.S. is based on the Current Prescribable Content of RxNorm. This is an approximation and may not be 100% accurate.

Ways to Access RxTerms

RxTerms is published as a zip of files that may be loaded into a SQL database. These files are described below.

Information from the current edition of RxTerms is also available via the RxTerms API.

Download Current RxTerms Data Files

Current release:

Cumulative Release notes

Sample load script for loading RxTerms into MySQL

An archive of older RxTerms releases is below.

RxTerms File Structure

Main RxTerms file - RxTerms(version).txt

These are the fields and their description:

  1. RXCUI - the RxNorm unique identifier for the clinical drug, which can be one of the following term types:
    • Semantic Clinical Drug (SCD) e.g. azithromycin 250 MG Oral Capsule.
    • Semantic Branded Drug (SBD) e.g. azithromycin 250 MG Oral Capsule [Zithromax].
    • Generic Pack (GPCK) e.g. {6 (azithromycin 250 MG Oral Tablet) } Pack
    • Branded Pack (BPCK) e.g. {6 (azithromycin 250 MG Oral Tablet [Zithromax]) } Pack [Z-PAKS].
  2. GENERIC_RXCUI - this is the corresponding generic clinical drug for SBD and BPCK (null for SCD).
  3. TTY - term type in RxNorm.
  4. FULL_NAME - the full RxNorm name of the clinical drug.
  5. RXN_DOSE_FORM - dose form and intended route information from RxNorm.
  6. FULL_GENERIC_NAME - the generic part of the full RxNorm name.
  7. BRAND_NAME - the brand name part of the full RxNorm name (null for SCD). Brand names are in all uppercase to distinguish them from generic names.
  8. DISPLAY_NAME - drug name (either generic or brand name) and intended route e.g. INDERAL (Oral-pill).
  9. ROUTE - intended route derived from RXN_DOSE_FORM.
  10. NEW_DOSE_FORM - dose form derived from RXN_DOSE_FORM.
  11. STRENGTH - strength information parsed from the RxNorm full name.
  12. SUPPRESS_FOR - to flag drug names deemed not likely to be useful for data entry. For example, long generic drug names with multiple ingredients (e.g. Bacitracin/Hydrocortisone/Neomycin/Polymyxin B) are suppressed because they are almost always prescribed by their brand names (e.g. CORTISPORIN OINTMENT). Any non-null value means that a row should be suppressed.
  13. DISPLAY_NAME_SYNONYM - commonly used synonyms or abbreviations for the drug e.g. MOM for Milk of Magnesia.
  14. IS_RETIRED - to flag records that existed in earlier versions but not in the latest version.
  15. SXDG_RXCUI - the RxNorm unique identifier for the entity represented by the DISPLAY_NAME (drug + intended route). The corresponding TTY (term type) in RxNorm is either SCDG (Semantic Clinical Doseform Group) or SBDG (Semantic Branded Doseform Group), as represented in the field SXDG_TTY.
  16. SXDG_TTY - the RxNorm TTY of the semantic doseform group
  17. SXDG_NAME - the RxNorm name of the semantic doseform group
  18. PSN - the RxNorm prescribable name

The fields DISPLAY_NAME, DISPLAY_NAME_SYNONYM, NEW_DOSE_FORM and STRENGTH are probably the most useful. We advise you to exclude rows that are suppressed or retired (i.e. rows with non-null values in SUPPRESS_FOR or IS_RETIRED).

A sample of the data

1005831 1005830 BPCK {48 (prednisolone 5 MG Oral Tablet [MILLIPRED]) } Pack [Millipred DP 12 Day] Pack {48 (prednisolone 5 MG Oral Tablet [MILLIPRED]) } Pack MILLIPRED DP 12 DAY MILLIPRED DP 12 DAY (Pack) Pack Pack mixed NA NA NA Millipred DP 48 Count 12 Day Pack
1005830 GPCK {48 (prednisolone 5 MG Oral Tablet) } Pack Pack {48 (prednisolone 5 MG Oral Tablet) } Pack prednisoLONE (Pack) Pack Pack mixed NA NA NA prednisoLONE 5 MG Oral Tablet 48 Count Pack
668664 311427 SBD Magnesium Hydroxide 311 MG Chewable Tablet [Phillips Milk of Magnesia] Chewable Tablet Magnesium Hydroxide 311 MG Chewable Tablet PHILLIPS MILK OF MAGNESIA PHILLIPS MILK OF MAGNESIA (Chewable) Chewable Tab 311 mg MOM 1296548 SBDG Phillips Milk of Magnesia Chewable Product Phillips' Milk of Magnesia 311 MG Chewable Tablet
1001397 SCD Calcium Carbonate 300 MG / Ergocalciferol 62.5 UNT Oral Tablet Oral Capsule Calcium Carbonate 300 MG / Ergocalciferol 62.5 UNT Oral Tablet Calcium Carbonate/Ergocalciferol (Oral Pill) Oral pill Tab 300-62.5 var units VITAMIN D; VIT-D 1153290 SCDG Calcium Carbonate / Ergocalciferol Pill calcium carbonate 300 MG / vitamin D2 62.5 UNT Oral Tablet

Ingredients file - Ingredients(version).txt (available after 201106 release)

This file lists the ingredients and their RXCUIs for every drug in RxTerms that is not suppressible or retired.

  1. RXCUI - the RxNorm uniquie identifier for the clinical drug
  2. INGREDIENT - name of ingredient
  3. ING_RXCUI - RXCUI of ingredient

A sample of the data

1000000 Amlodipine 17767
1000000 Hydrochlorothiazide 5487
1000000 olmesartan 321064
1000009 Miconazole 6932
1000009 Zinc Oxide 11423
1000009 dimethicone 324072


These are the past releases of RxTerms.