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Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®)

RxNorm Release Notes

September Release - 9/08/2020

This full release of RxNorm is consistent with the 2020AA UMLS Metathesaurus release. For additional information about RxNorm releases, including scripts for loading the RxNorm data into Oracle and MySQL databases, read the RxNorm Technical Documentation.


The following sources with version names in bold have been updated since the previous RxNorm release:

Source NameSABVersion
Vaccines Administered CVX CVX_2020_07_28
DrugBank DRUGBANK DRUGBANK5.0_2020_07_30
Gold Standard Drug Database GS GS_2020_08_13
Multum MediSource Lexicon MMSL MMSL_2020_08_01
Micromedex RED BOOK MMX MMX_2020_08_10
FDA Structured Product Labels MTHSPL MTHSPL_2020_08_28
FDB MedKnowledge (formerly NDDF Plus) NDDF NDDF_2020_08_12
RxNorm normalized names and codes RXNORM RXNORM_20AA_200908F
US Edition of SNOMED CT (drug information) SNOMEDCT_US SNOMEDCT_US_2020_07_31
Veterans Health Administration National Drug File VANDF VANDF_2020_08_03

The following sources have not been updated since the previous RxNorm release:

Source NameSABVersion
Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System ATC ATC_2020
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) MSH MSH2020_2020_01_15
CMS Formulary Reference File MTHCMSFRF MTHCMSFRF_2014
USP Compendial Nomenclature USP USP_2020_02_06

*Reminder: As of October 2017, Medi-Span data will not be included in the RxNorm or UMLS releases. If you have questions about Medi-Span, please contact:

Data Changes

Unique ISMP Tall Man Lettering Names Added

Tall man lettering (TML) is an approach that uses uppercase lettering to help differentiate look-alike drug names by capitalizing dissimilar letters (e.g. CISplatin versus CARBOplatin). RxNorm currently uses the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) List of Established Drug Names Recommended to Use Tall Man Lettering (TML) which overlaps heavily with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) List of Look-Alike Drug Names with Recommended Tall Man Letters. To provide more comprehensive TML medication names, the RxNorm September 2020 release includes unique ISMP TML names absent from the FDA list.

Archiving Brand Name OTC Cough/Cold/Flu Products with Two Ingredients

Several years ago, RxNorm archived brand name over-the-counter (OTC) cold/cough/flu products with 3 or more ingredients.  For the September release, OTC cold/cough/flu products with term types SBD or BPCK with 2 ingredients will be archived.  Impacted atoms will be reassigned to generic names.

Notice of Upcoming RxNorm Data Changes

As a courtesy to users, this section provides advance notice of possible upcoming RxNorm data changes. More information about each change will be provided or repeated in the future. Please note that planned data changes and timelines may change if issues arise.

  • Reminder: Deleting UMLS Metathesaurus UMLSAUI & UMLSCUI in the RxNorm November 2020 Monthly Release
    • The Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) atom unique identifier (AUI) and concept unique identifier (CUI) will not exist in RxNorm beginning with the November 2020 release. In other words, the UMLSAUI and UMLSCUI attributes will be deleted from the RxNorm terminology in the RXNSAT.RRF file. Users can obtain the UMLSAUI and UMLSCUI directly from the Metathesaurus if needed.


Related News 

NLM’s Pillbox will be Retired January 2021

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Pillbox program will be retired on January 29, 2021. See the following announcement for more information:

Data Counts

Term Type or AttributeNumber
Active GPCKs426
Active BPCKs511
Active SCDs16762
Active SBDs9428
Active RXNORM MINs3730
Active RXNORM INs12914
Active RXNORM PINs3032
Active RXNORM BNs5140
Active RXNORM DFs121
Obsolete GPCKs231
Obsolete BPCKs197
Obsolete SCDs18215
Obsolete SBDs10686
Obsolete RXNORM MINs0
Obsolete RXNORM INs0
Obsolete RXNORM PINs0
Obsolete RXNORM BNs6094
Obsolete RXNORM DFs63
Editor-suppressed SCDs1778
Editor-suppressed SBDs1464
Distinct SAB=RXNORM NDCs239403

Last Reviewed: October 13, 2020