Anatomical-therapeutic-chemical classification system

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The anatomical-therapeutic-chemical classification system , officially Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical / Defined Daily Dose Classification, is an international classification for medicinal products developed in 1976 by the European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association (EPhMRA), then adapted and officially published in 1990 by the Collaborating Center for Drug Statistics of the World Health Organization .

The classification applies to substances , not to commercial preparations . In Germany, a version ATC / DDD - DIMDI (Version 17, 2020), adapted according to the fifth book of the Social Code (SGB V ), which also contains herbal substances, appears annually . Most of the commercially sold drug registers and catalogs are arranged (in addition to the central pharmaceutical number ) according to the ATC index of the individual substances.

The classification contains 5 levels. On the first level there are 15 main groups, which are based on the organ (e.g. heart ) or system ( e.g. blood circulation ) on which the medicinal substance unfolds its main effect. The second and third levels are therapy groups or subgroups; the fourth and fifth levels are ordered according to chemical structure.

General explanation of the ATC code

Level 1: Letter for the anatomical group. There are 15 different ones:

Level 2: Main therapeutic group (2 digits)

Level 3: Therapeutic / pharmacological subgroup (one letter)

Level 4: chemical / therapeutic / pharmacological subgroup (one letter)

Level 5: Subgroup of the chemical substance (2 digits)

Level 2 ATC codes

ATC A - Alimentary System and Metabolism

ATC B - blood and blood-forming organs

ATC C - Cardiovascular System

ATC D - Dermatics

ATC G - Urogenital System and Sex Hormones

  • G01 - Gynecological anti-infectives and antiseptics
  • G02 - Other gynecological agents
  • G03 - sex hormones and other modulators of the genital system
  • G04 - Urologics

ATC H - hormones, systemic (without sex hormones)

ATC J - anti-infectives for systemic administration

  • J01 - antibiotics for systemic use
  • J02 - antifungal agents for systemic use
  • J04 - agent against mycobacteria
  • J05 - Antiviral substances for systemic use
  • J06 - immune sera and immunoglobulins
  • J07 - vaccines

ATC L - Antineoplastic and Immunomodulating Substances

  • L01 - Antineoplastic Agents
  • L02 - Endocrine Therapy
  • L02A - hormones and corresponding active ingredients
  • L02B - hormone antagonists and corresponding active ingredients
  • L03 - immunostimulants
  • L04 - immunosuppressive substances

ATC M - muscular and skeletal system

  • M01 - Anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • M02 - Topical remedies for joint and muscle pain
  • M03 - muscle relaxants
  • M04 - gout remedy
  • M05 - means for the treatment of bone diseases
  • M09 - Other drugs used to treat musculoskeletal disorders.

ATC N - nervous system

ATC P - Antiparasitic Substances, Insecticides, Repellants

  • P01 - agent against protozoal diseases
  • P02 - anti- helmintics
  • P03 - remedy for ectoparasites

ATC Q - Veterinary Medicines

  • [...]

ATC R - respiratory tract

  • R01 - Rhinologics
  • R02 - throat and throat therapeutics
  • R03 - remedy for obstructive respiratory diseases
  • R04 - Breast rubs and other inhalants
  • R05 - cough and cold preparations
  • R06 - antihistamines for systemic use
  • R07 - Other respiratory agents

ATC S - sense organs

ATC V - Various

  • V01 - allergens
  • V03 - All other therapeutic agents
  • V04 - Diagnostics
  • V06 - General dietetics
  • V07 - All other non-therapeutic agents
  • V08 - contrast agent
  • V09 - Radiodiagnostics
  • V10 - radiotherapeutic agents
  • V20 - wound dressings
  • V60 - homeopathics and anthroposophics
  • V70 recipes
  • V90 - special groups

Explanation using the example of acetylsalicylic acid

A substance can have different codes depending on the application and dosage .

Use as an inhibitor of platelet aggregation

1st letter: B

Stands for the group of substances that influence " blood and blood-forming organs".

2nd number: 01

Stands for the subgroup " Antithrombotic drugs ".

3rd letter: A

Stands for the subgroup "Antithrombotic drugs". That this sub-sub-group is called exactly like the sub-group before (the 2nd level) is not the same everywhere. The antithrombotic agents simply cannot be sub-grouped more finely.

4th letter: C

Stands for " platelet aggregation inhibitor , excl. Heparin ".

5th number: 06

Stands for the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid

The ATC code B01AC06 therefore stands for all medicinal products with the solitary active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid.

Use as a pain reliever

The acetylsalicylic acid used as a pain reliever in a dose other than its function as a platelet aggregation inhibitor can also be classified in another ATC code: N02BA01

1st letter: N

Stands for the organ system nervous system

2nd number: 02

Stands for analgesics

3rd letter: B

Stands for subgroup "Other analgesics and antipyretics ".

4th letter: A

Stands for salicylic acid and its derivatives

5th number: 01

Stands for acetylsalicylic acid


See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Official ATC classification with DDD published for 2020 , PM DIMDI of December 27, 2019, accessed on December 27, 2019