Can you explain the difference between searching on OpenFDA with the .exact suffix, and without the suffix? I'm a little confused

1 Answer 1


We sure can. Fields that permit an .exact suffix have been indexed in two forms in the openFDA database (which uses Elasticsearch). A field without the .exact suffix has been tokenized to allow flexible partial searches. For example, consider the following query: https://api.fda.gov/drug/ndc.json?search=brand_name:Advil&limit=1000. This will return all NDC drugs that contain Advil within their brand name, such as CHILDRENS ADVIL,ADVIL MIGRAINE, and so on.

Now try adding the suffix as follows: https://api.fda.gov/drug/ndc.json?search=brand_name.exact:Advil&limit=1000. You will see fewer results, and each result will have its brand_name exactly that: Advil. Exact value match is now required.

Hope this makes sense.


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