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PubMed: The Basics: PubMed for Pharmacy

A how-to guide on using and searching the New PubMed

PubMed for Pharmacy

When searching PubMed for pharmacological topics, there are a few special techniques that you can use. Before going further, it may be helpful to have an understanding of MeSH terms.

The National Library of Medicine also has a tutorial called Searching Drugs or Chemicals in PubMed that covers these topics in more detail.

Supplementary Concepts

Supplementary Concepts describe substances, mostly drugs and chemicals, that you can add to your search query like MeSH terms. Although Supplementary Concepts are connected to MeSH terms, they are not a part of the MeSH hierarchy and cannot be used as MeSH major topics. You can find Supplementary Concepts by searching the MeSH database.

Example: lidocaine-polyacrylate [Supplementary Concept]

Pharmacological Action Terms

Use the [mh] tag after your term when looking for information on how a drug behaves in the body, or when trying to find articles where the action is discussed. You can view the available Pharmacological Action Terms here.

Example: Anti-Inflammatory Agents [mh] AND aspirin

Pharmacological Action Lists

Use the [pa] tag to search an entire collection of drugs at once. You can browse the Pharmacological Action Lists here. The example below will show results where any cardiovascular drug is discussed in the context of treating high blood pressure.

Example: Cardiovascular Agents [pa] AND high blood pressure

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