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Comparing Drug-class Membership in ATC and NDF-RT
The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system is widely used in Europe for the classification and coding of drugs. However, ATC is not well integrated with other medication terminologies (e.g., NDF-RT – the National Drug File-Reference Terminology), which hinders the integration of data coded to these two systems. In this work, we propose to map ATC to NDFRT, via the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS), in which several medication terminologies are integrated, including NDFRT but not ATC. Only half of ATC terms were successfully mapped to the UMLS using automatic lexical techniques, resulting in very few overlapping drug-class pairs between ATC and NDF-RT. To improve these results, we performed a manual mapping of cardiovascular ATC and NDF-RT classes, which increased the number of common drug-class pairs from 39 to 128. We believe that the discovery of mappings between ATC and NDF-RT classes could be further automated and made more effective by identifying mappings between the drugs in these classes.