For all medication-round fills, except diabetic equipment and supplies (see RXNAME) and drugs determined to be a confidentiality risk, RXDRGNAM reports the generic name most commonly used by prescribing physicians for the medication. The drug classification system used to assign RXDRGNAM has remained consistent over time, making it well-suited for trend analyses or pooling years or panels together. RXDRGNAM is assigned using the Multum Lexicon database (for more information about the Multum Lexicon database, see the following section). See also RXNAME and RXNDC for additional information about prescribed medication-round fill attributes.
A drug can pose a confidentiality risk for several reasons. Examples include orphan drugs, drugs that are estimated to be used by fewer than 200,00 people, or drug names that provide identifying information about the pharmacy or respondent. An orphan drug is a drug that treats a rare disease or condition but has been discontinued because there is little or no economic incentive to continue development or production. See Rare Diseases at the FDA for more information about how these drugs are designated and the effort to financially support their development and production under the Orphan Drug Act. See the codes tab for more detailed information about how these cases are handled in the data.
RXDRGNAM is on the prescribed medication-round fill record (or "medication-round fill record," see RECTYPE for more details on the different record types in IPUMS MEPS). Variables offered on the medication-round fill record through IPUMS MEPS are derived from the prescribed medicines file provided by AHRQ. Please see our overview of the event, medical conditions, and prescribed medicines variables, including how those variables are offered through IPUMS MEPS, and general considerations to keep in mind when conducting analyses using these variables.
IPUMS MEPS reports the universe for each variable based on a thorough review of the original MEPS documentation. Investigating the data may reveal cases that do not meet the stated universe. Users are encouraged to validate universes for their analyses.
Multum Lexicon Variables
Cerner Multum, Inc. develops the Multum Lexicon database that MEPS uses to classify drugs reported by respondents in the MEPS-HC. Each drug is assigned a Multum drug name (RXDRGNAM), a pregnancy category (PREGCAT), and to one or more therapeutic class, sub-class, and sub-sub-class designations (see MULTC1 for more information about the Multum Lexicon variables).
Users of the Multum Lexicon variables should cite Multum Lexicon, AHRQ, and IPUMS MEPS as the data sources.
RXDRGNAM is a 60-character string variable.
In 2014-onward samples, in the case that a prescription drug name was determined to be a confidentiality risk, the most detailed Multum Lexicon therapeutic classification value available (see MULTC1) replaced RXDRGNAM (Multum drug name). The most detailed classification value available means that if a medication fill has a sub-sub-class value assigned, such as “SSRI antidepressants,” this is the value used for RXDRGNAM in the case that the drug name was determined to be a confidentiality risk. If a medication fill has a sub-class value, such as “antidepressants,” but no sub-sub-class value assigned, then the sub-class value is the value used for RXDRGNAM. If a medication fill has a class value, such as “psychotherapeutic agents,” but no sub-class or sub-sub-class value assigned, then the class value is the value used for RXDRGNAM.
In 1996-2013 samples, in the case that a prescription drug name was determined to be a confidentiality risk, RXDRGNAM is assigned a value of 8 – “Unknown-not ascertained.”
Additionally, diabetic equipment and supplies (see RXNAME) are also assigned a RXDRGNAM value of 8 – “Unknown-not ascertained” for all years.
The data editing procedures employed by AHRQ to handle cases where the drug name was determined to be a confidentiality risk differs for the 1996-2013 and 2014-forward samples. Please refer to the Codes tab for more information. Aside from changes to these data editing procedures, there are no comparability issues.
- 1996-2021: All medication-round fills, except diabetic equipment and supplies (see RXNAME) and drugs determined to be a confidentiality risk.
- 1996-2021 : PERWEIGHT