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

Searching PubMed for Chemicals and Drugs

Use no search tags in PubMed for comprehensive chemical searching, whether the substance you are looking for is a MeSH heading or a Supplementary Concept Record (SCR).



Check Previous Indexing headings found on MeSH heading records in the MeSH Database for terms that may have been used in the years prior to the introduction of the chemical into the controlled vocabulary.


In the MeSH Database: Chemicals, Drugs and Compounds listed as [Substance Name] are Supplementary Concepts (SCRs) only

In a MEDLINE citation: Chemicals, Drugs and Compounds listed in a citation under Substances can be either MeSH terms (in which case, they are duplicated in the MeSH Term list) OR Supplementary Concepts (SCRs)

Search all substances (both SCRs and MHs) in PubMed using the search tag [nm] or no tag.


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