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Unified Medical Language System® (UMLS®)

SNOMED CT Route of Administration Subset

Data Files
(expect a new version of the subset for each new release of SNOMED CT)

SNOMED CT Route of Administration SubsetDerived from SNOMED CT version
der_RouteOfAdministration_current-en-US_US_20120731.txt July 2012 International Release
der_RouteOfAdministration_current-en-US_US_20120131.txt January 2012 International Release
der_RouteOfAdministration_current-en-US_US_20110731.txt July 2011 International Release
der_RouteOfAdministration_current-en-US_US_20100731.txt July 2010 International Release


The Route of Administration subset of SNOMED CT® is a listing of the current set of terms related to the location of administration for clinical therapeutics.  The purpose of the Route of Administration is to define a SNOMED CT subset, a portion of which can be used in the Drug Listing section of Structured Product Labeling (SPL), or for documentation and encoding of clinical information regarding substance administrations.

The first version of the subset is derived solely from the Route of Administration hierarchy in the current release of SNOMED CT (July 2010). As this portion of SNOMED CT is currently undergoing review, realignment and harmonization with routes of administration that comprise the established name of products that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Users of SNOMED CT should expect changes to the content over the next few releases of SNOMED CT.

Purpose and use of subset

The main purpose of the SNOMED CT Route of Administration subset is to facilitate the use of SNOMED CT as the primary coding terminology for substance administration documentation. As local vocabularies often provide variable ways of representing commonly used concepts, the use of a common list of SNOMED CT concepts will maximize data interoperability among institutions. This list is aimed at being comprehensive, so users unable to find terms they think are appropriate should contact Dr. Jim Case ( to request modification to this list.

Institutions that are using their own Route of Administration vocabularies are encouraged to map them to members of this subset of SNOMED CT.

Choice of SNOMED CT concepts

The following guidelines were used to develop the subset:

  • Only current SNOMED CT concepts from the International release are included (concept status = 0)
  • Only concepts that are subtypes of the concept [284009009] Route of administration value (qualifier value) are included.
  • The sub-hierarchy structure of this branch of the terminology was not included, i.e. the subset is represented as a flat list of terms.
  • Terms related to route of administration from other parts of the terminology were not considered for inclusion

Mapping to FDA Routes of Administration

A project to harmonize the current content of SNOMED CT with the FDA list of routes of administration has been undertaken and a number of requested changes and additions to the Route of Administration hierarchy are currently under consideration by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), which owns SNOMED CT. It is expected that a number of these requests will be represented in the next few versions of the International release of SNOMED CT. Those concepts not accepted into the International release will be assigned US extension concept IDs.

File description

The SNOMED CT Route of Administration subset data file is a tab-delimited file with the following fields:

  • SNOMED_CID – conceptId of the SNOMED CT concept
  • SNOMED_PT – The SNOMED CT preferred term

The file identifies what we hope is a useful subset of SNOMED CT, but does not include all the information likely to be required to make effective use of SNOMED CT in an application, such as synonyms that may include more clinician-friendly terms than the SNOMED CT fully-specified name. In addition, the file is not intended to be an exhaustive list of routes of administration.  For instance, the term “intravenous” (referring to administration through a vein) is included because it is widely used, but the term “intracephalic” (referring to administration through the cephalic vein of the arm) is not included because it is typically not used. The identifiers in the file can be used to extract more complete information for these concepts from the SNOMED CT native format files.

Update and maintenance

Updates to the International release of SNOMED CT are published issued twice a year on January 31 and July 31. A new version of this subset will be published in conjunction with each new release of SNOMED CT, generally within two weeks after the International release is published. Within each version of the subset, newly retired SNOMED CT concepts will be flagged and additional SNOMED CT concepts may be added if appropriate.

SNOMED CT license requirement

SNOMED CT is owned by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), of which NLM is the US Member. Use of SNOMED CT is subject to the IHTSDO Affiliate license provisions (incorporated in the License Agreement for Use of the UMLS® Metathesaurus® as Appendix 2) and is free in IHTSDO Member countries ( including the United States, in low income countries (, and for approved research projects in any country.

Feedback and suggestions

We welcome any questions, comments or suggestions that would improve the quality, accuracy and usability of the subset. Please send feedback to Dr. James T. Case, Medical Subject Headings, National Library of Medicine (email:


We thank the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs and the FDA for their input and datasets used to initially define the content of the subset.

Medical Subject Headings
U.S. National Library of Medicine