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Term Types in RxNorm

When you are selecting an RxNorm code, be aware of the different Term Types (TTY) available:PharmacyScalesMar2017

  • BN- Brand Name
  • BPCK- Brand Name Pack
  • DF- Dose Form
  • DFG- Dose Form Group
  • ET- Dose Form Entry Team
  • GPCK- Generic Pack
  • IN- Ingredient
  • MIN- Multiple Ingredients
  • PIN- Precise Ingredient
  • PSN- Prescribable Name
  • SBD- Semantic Branded Drug
  • SBDC- Semantic Branded Drug Component
  • SBDF- Semantic Branded Drug Form
  • SBDG- Semantic Branded Dose Form Group
  • SCD- Semantic Clinical Drug
  • SCDC- Semantic Clinical Drug Component
  • SCDF- Semantic Clinical Drug Form
  • SCDG- Semantic Clinical Dose Form Group
  • SY- Synonym
  • TMSY- Tall Man Lettering Synonym

Your pharmacy data may be expressed at a level of granularity that can be captured by one of the 20 term types of RxNorm.  An order written as Acetaminophen 500 mg has a corresponding term type of SCDC.  If a particular brand is included in the order, then the SBD, SBDF, or the SBDC will be the term type that represents that level of specificity. 

If your drug data includes the ingredient, strength, and route, but not the dose form, then finding the appropriate Term Type in RxNorm can be tricky.   For example, there’s not one that perfectly fits the concept Acetaminophen 500 mg Oral.  RxNorm pre-coordinates their dose forms with routes of administration, so a dose form should be specified in order to map using the correct term type.

Examples of RxNorm Term Types

Clinic Local Medication  Name TTY Selected RxNorm Description
A Acetaminophen 500 mg SCDC Acetaminophen 500 mg
B Acetaminophen, Oral SCDG Acetaminophen Oral Product
C Acetaminophen Suppository SCDF Acetaminophen Suppository
D Acetaminophen 500 mg Oral* SCD Acetaminophen 500 mg, Oral **
E Acetaminophen 500 mg Capsule* SCD*** Acetaminophen 500 mg Capsule, Oral
F Acetaminophen 500 mg Oral Capsule SCD Acetaminophen 500 mg Capsule, Oral
G Tylenol 500 mg Gelcap, Oral* SBD Acetaminophen 500 mg Capsule Oral [Tylenol]
H Tylenol Cap, Oral SBDF Acetaminophen Oral Capsule [Tylenol]
I Tylenol 500 mg SBDC Acetaminophen 500 mg [Tylenol]

*Best fit in RxNorm, not an exact match

**Possible forms: Capsule, Tablet, Solution, Reconstituted Solution

***RxNorm only has one route (Oral) listed for Capsule

As you can see, you need to use domain expertise to select the RxNorm code that corresponds to the granularity of your data. Representing data with the appropriate term type allows you to use the rich knowledge base of RxNorm, for example the relationships between drugs and their attributes – such as restricting to injectables for a particular ingredient.

Please contact us if you have questions or if you’d like us to help with standardizing your pharmacy data to RxNorm.