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Adverse Effects - Search Tips


There are several ways you can search for papers that discuss the adverse effects of certain drugs.

The following options are suggestions and every search will differ.

Adverse effect search options


Search for the drug name AND a construct a search string of common words or phrases that are used to describe adverse effects.
This might include:

"adverse drug effect*" OR "adverse drug reaction*" OR "adverse effect*" OR "adverse event*" OR "adverse outcome*" OR "adverse reaction*" OR complication* OR "side effect*" OR "undesirable effect*" OR "undesirable event*" OR "unexpected effect*" OR "unexpected event*"


Search for the drug name AND the words or phrases of known adverse effects


Medline (Ovid), Embase (Ovid) and CINAHL generally index articles on drug side effects with subheadings to drug names

Medline (Ovid) example

1. Click Map Term to Subject Heading
2. Enter the drug name in the search field
3. Click Search


If there is a related Subject Heading, this will be displayed on the next page. 
Follow the next steps.

1. Click the checkbox to select the Subject Heading
2. Click Continue


The next page will display a list of available subheadings that are available.
Follow the next steps

1. As the focus is on Adverse Effects, select the related checkbox
2. Click Continue


The search and results will be displayed similar to this



Start with CINAHL Subject Headings and browse for the drug name
From the results make the following selections (change for your drug name)
1. Click the radio button next to the drug name
2. From the subheadings menu click the radio button for Adverse Effects
3. When your selections have been added, click Search Database
Your search will appear as follows

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