Categorical information in pharmaceutical terminologies.

John S. Carter, Steven H. Brown, Brent A. Bauer, Peter L. Elkin, Mark S. Erlbaum, David A. Froehling, Michael J. Lincoln, S. Trent Rosenbloom, Dietlind L. Wahner-Roedler, Mark S. Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Drug information sources use category labels to assist in navigating and organizing information. Some category labels describe drugs from multiple perspectives (e.g., both structure and function). The National Drug File - Reference Terminology (NDF RT) is a drug information source that augments a "legacy" categorization system with a formal reference model specifying Chemical Structure, Cellular or Sub-Cellular Mechanism of Action, Organ- or System-Level Physiological Effect, and Therapeutic Intent categories. We examined drug category names from three sources to better understand their information content and evaluate NDF RT's semantic coverage. On average, category names contain more than 1.5 attributes. NDF RT's reference model covers more than 76% of the information identified in drug category labels. A new NDF RT reference axis of drug formulations could improve NDF RT's coverage to 85%. The distinction between Physiological Effect and Therapeutic Intent, prompted many questions among category reviewers, suggesting that further clarification of these reference concepts is required. Careful review of existing categorization schemes may guide structured terminology and ontology development efforts toward greater fidelity to deployed information sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-120
Number of pages5
JournalAMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Categorical information in pharmaceutical terminologies.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this