We at NLM in Focus do our best to inform you about the people, products, and programs of the world’s largest medical library. However, there are always more questions to answer and realms to explore.
We are pleased to present this new, occasional feature, in which we answer questions we think might be on your mind and invite you to submit your own. If you have something you’ve always wondered about the National Library of Medicine, please let us know by using the “Leave a Reply” box at the foot of this page.
This Wednesday, we’re wondering about the Drug Information Portal.
What is the Drug Information Portal?
- A gateway to information on over 53,000 substances (including over 200,000 unique searchable drug names and their synonyms) compiled from NLM sources and other US government agencies.
- A source of info about drugs through the entire pipeline of the approval process—from the time they’re entered into clinical trials for testing through their entry into the US marketplace.
Who’s the intended audience?
- The portal is designed as a “middle ground” resource with diverse information meant for consumers, health professionals, and researchers.
What are some of the site’s most helpful features?
- Ability to browse by category, e.g., all anti-asthmatic agents or all anti-hypertensive agents, to view drugs with similar use
- Direct links to drug label data and pill images
- Ability to select non-technical or more advanced research level information
- View, copy, or save a link to a drug’s chemical structure
What sets it apart from other NLM drug information resources?
- Access to many authoritative resources in one drug record. You can link to completed or ongoing clinical trials, general use and side effects information, specialized summaries for nursing mothers, and published literature abstracts and free full-text articles, when available, without conducting multiple searches in various sources.
Is there an interesting story about the Drug Information Portal?
- A county medical examiner office in Florida was looking for a data source to provide a listing of drugs, categories, and descriptions for their website. Their programmers learned about the NLM Drug Information Portal and now download our data via a monthly update provided by NLM Data Distribution and the ChemIDplus authority file.
Any other fun facts you would like to add?
- A list of the top name and category searches gets updated each week, so you can see what other drugs have been researched recently.
- The site includes definitions for many generic stem names. For example, drugs that end in –prazole are antiulcer agents (omeprazole).
- You can retrieve resources filtered by drug class, such as prescription drugs, over-the-counter, or drugs of abuse.
- The portal also has a mobile site for easy access by phone or tablet.
What are you wondering about?
Let us know below.
By Melanie Modlin, NLM in Focus writer