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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH®) in MEDLINE®/PubMed®: A Tutorial

Pharmacological Action Terms

Most chemical and drug MeSH headings and Supplementary Concept Records (SCRs) are assigned one or more headings that describe the pharmacological action(s) (PA) of the substance.

  • Since 1996, NLM indexers add the appropriate pharmacological action MeSH heading as well as the specific chemical MeSH heading to a citation when the action of the chemical is being discussed in the article.

Example:

Here are the pharmacological actions established for the MeSH Heading, Aspirin:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Antipyretics

An article indexed since 1996 that discusses aspirin used as an anti-inflammatory agent is indexed with:

Aspirin
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal

An article indexed since 1996 that discusses aspirin used to inhibit blood clotting is indexed with:

Aspirin
Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors

  • To search for articles indexed since 1996 about a particular action of a substance, search the substance term AND the Pharmacological Action as a MeSH heading.

Example:

aspirin [mh] AND fibrinolytic agents [mh]

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