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Wherever a clinical drug concept in the International edition of SNOMED CT uses the term 'international unit' this will be replaced with the internationally recognized abbreviation IU without expansion of this abbreviation. The planned change will be made to 20 clinical drug concepts and the abbreviation IU will be noted as an exception in the Editorial Guide.

Please add any comments or feedback to this page by no later than 30th June.

Thank you

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  1. Hi Cathy,

    Thanks - This update is acceptable to drug content in Ireland. The Irish drug extension prefers the use of the full term 'international unit' across concepts where possible - but 'IU' is an acceptable abbreviation where needed, given;

     - its widespread use in trade/brand descriptions of marketed products that will relate to the clinical drug ('real clinical drug' and 'real packaged clinical drug' concepts)

     - the recognition of this specific abbreviation by our National Competent Authority (NCA) - Health Products Regulatory Authority

     - the recognition of this specific abbreviation across multiple countries by the relevant NCAs (

    If a national need arises (e.g. patient safety issue)  that the 'IU' abbreviation is not to be used in a specific clinical drug concept we have the option of creating a national level preferred term with the fully expanded term. With 20 clinical drug concepts affected (and even assuming expansion over time) this is manageable through national policies/guidance. 

    cc: Theresa Barry