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MEDLINE Indexing Online Training Course

Category D - Chemicals and Drugs

Indexing Principles

In the biomedical literature, chemicals and drugs appear in many different contexts - as therapeutic or diagnostic agents; environmental pollutants; endogenous substances; pure chemicals, etc. These different contexts must be considered when indexing chemicals.

In some cases, the chemical concept can be adequately indexed with a single MeSH heading.

Chemical analysis of thioacetamide.
THIOACETAMIDE / *chem

Pharmacological Activity (PA)

In many cases, however, the article will describe the functional aspect of a chemical. Then the purely chemical aspect alone is not sufficient. The indexer should choose the appropriate PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS from the MeSH record. If the appropriate PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS is not listed in the MeSH record, the indexer should search the MeSH trees and select the most appropriate one for the article. However, index a pharmacologic action term ONLY when it is appropriate. Depending on the content of the article, the chemical may be indexed with no pharmacologic action term, with the pharmacologic action term listed in the record or with a different pharmacologic action term.

ASPIRIN (Acetylsalicylic Acid) can be used to treat inflammation, dissolve blood clots, or prevent aggregation of blood platelets. Therefore, the therapeutic use of this drug cannot be adequately indexed with the single MeSH heading. ASPIRIN must be coordinated with its PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS.

Use of aspirin to treat arthritis.
ASPIRIN /*ther use
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AGENTS, NON-STEROIDAL /*ther use
ARTHRITIS /*drug ther

Use of aspirin to treat thrombosis.
ASPIRIN /*ther use
FIBRINOLYTIC AGENTS /*ther use
THROMBOSIS / *drug ther

But
Solubility of aspirin

ASPIRIN/*chem.
SOLUBILITY

PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS term(s) should be coordinated with the chemical. The PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS (PA) should be IM if the chemical is indexed IM, and both should have the same subheadings.

The MeSH record often lists the most common PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS for that MeSH term.

MeSH record for Aspirin

The indexer should choose the appropriate PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS from the MeSH record. If the appropriate PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS is not listed in the MeSH record, the indexer should search the MeSH trees and select the most appropriate one for the article.

Use of aspirin to improve cognition in Alzheimer's disease.
ASPIRIN / * ther use
NOOTROPIC AGENTS / *ther use
ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE / * drug ther / psychol
COGNITION / * drug eff

NOOTROPIC AGENTS (COGNITIVE ENHANCERS) is not listed as PHARMACOLOGIC ACTIONS for ASPIRIN

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