The Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) vocabulary includes headings for the pharmacologic actions of drugs. Each drug and chemical in the MeSH vocabulary is assigned one or more of these headings. The pharmacologic action headings can be used to find information on the action of a drug or class of drugs.
- Find articles in which a specific action of a drug is discussed: Combine the MeSH heading for the drug or chemical with the MeSH heading for the pharmacologic action of interest.
For example, to find articles on the antipyretic action of acetaminophen, enter: “Acetominophen”[MeSH] AND “Antipyretics”[MeSH]
In order to use this method, you need to know which pharmacologic action headings have been assigned to the drug or chemical. This information can be found in the MeSH record for the drug. To search the MeSH database, choose ‘MeSH’ from the dropdown menu to the left of the PubMed search box.
- Find articles in which any drug or chemical exhibiting a certain action is discussed: Use the pharmacologic action field tag, [Pharmacologic Action] or [pa]. This search would likely be added to another, using ‘AND’.
For example, to find articles on platelet aggregation inhibitors and heart attack, enter: “Platelet aggregation inhibitors”[pa] AND “Myocardial infarction”[MeSH]
- View a list of drugs and chemicals identified as having a certain pharmacologic action: Find the record for the term, labeled [Pharmacologic Action], in the MeSH database.
For example: “Antirheumatic agents”[Pharmacologic Action]