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 November 7, 2000 [posted]
 NLM Adds Drug Information and Medical Encyclopedia to MEDLINEplus

E arlier this year, NLM made two major additions to MEDLINEplus, its consumer health Web site: the Medical Encyclopedia from, and United States Pharmacopeia Drug Information (USP DI®), Volume II, Advice for the Patient®. Both resources will be updated quarterly. These new resources complement the MEDLINEplus Health Topics pages, which are compiled by NLM.

The Medical Encyclopedia contains an extensive library of medical illustrations, as well as over 4,000 articles about diseases, tests, symptoms, injuries, and surgeries. The USP DI contains information on over 9,000 brand name and generic prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. It provides information about side effects, dosing, drug interactions, precautions and storage for each drug.

Users can browse the alphabetic index for either the Medical Encyclopedia or the USP DI pages by selecting the appropriate resource from the left column of the MEDLINEplus Home Page (Figure 1). The Medical Encyclopedia (Figure 2) is found under either the Health Topics page (Browse the Medical Encyclopedia) or Dictionaries page (ADAM Medical Encyclopedia). USP DI (Figure 3) is found under Drug Information. The introductory page of each resource provides links to the alphabetical sections of their respective indexes.

Users can search all three resources - MEDLINEplus Health Topics pages, the Medical Encyclopedia, and USP DI - at one time by entering search terms on the MEDLINEplus advanced search page. To get to the advanced search page from the Home Page (Figure 1), click on "Advanced Search" to the right of the Search box.

On the MEDLINEplus advanced search page (Figure 4), users can enter a search term and then select which resource or resources to search within MEDLINEplus. The default search will retrieve MEDLINEplus Health Topics pages as well as USP DI pages. For example, in Figure 4, a user has entered the search terms "chickenpox shingles" and changed the second radio button so that the MEDLINEplus pages, USP DI, and the Encyclopedia will all be searched together.

In the list of retrieved documents, the titles of Health Topics pages and USP DI pages are preceded by "MEDLINEplus:," but Medical Encyclopedia article titles are not. See Figure 5.

Note that on the search results page the most recent search terms appear, but the search options have been returned to the default settings. The search settings can be changed from this page for a new search.

Based on user feedback, NLM expects the Medical Encyclopedia and USP DI to provide more complete answers to consumer health questions. Use the "We welcome your comments" link at the bottom of each page to send feedback directly to the MEDLINEplus development team.

By Monica Unger
Public Services Division

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Unger M. NLM Adds Drug Information and Medical Encyclopedia to MEDLINEplus. NLM Tech Bull. 2000 Nov-Dec;(317):e2.


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Last updated: 16 April 2012