The search results page gives the name(s) of the drug, a summary of the drug’s actions, and where to find additional information.
The Drug Name is usually the official generic name for a drug. The source of the generic name follows in brackets if available. Following are acronyms for some of the types of generic names.
- USAN United States Adopted Name.
- INN International Nonproprietary Name.
- BAN British Approved Name.
- JAN Japanese Approved Name.
- DCF French Approved Name.
Drug names are often structured to give an indication of use. For example, the ending “azepam” as in Diazepam (Valium) shows that the drug has anti-anxiety activity as you might expect for Valium. You may browse a table of these generic name stems showing the correspondence of an ending to a drug class.
The Category in the search results page gives the general use for a particular drug and is derived from the NLM MeSH Pharmacological Action (PA) Field. An example for diazepam is:
If one or more categories are displayed for a particular drug, you may search on a selected category to identify other drugs that include this NLM MeSH Pharmacological Action drug category. A list of these categories and their definitions can be viewed by selecting the information button. If a particular Category is selected, the information button will show its definition.
The Description is a summary of what the drug is, and what it does. A description is usually taken from the Note field of the NLM MeSH file. An example for diazepam is:
“A Benzodiazepine with anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, sedative, muscle relaxant, and amnesic properties and a long duration of action. Its actions are mediated by enhancement of GABA activity. It is used in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders, as a hypnotic in the short-term management of insomnia, as a sedative and premedicant, as an anticonvulsant, and in the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. (From Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p589)”