Table of contents
- Searching by keyword
- Use search filters to refine your search
- Combine filters to broaden or narrow down your search
- Use AND, OR and NOT between search terms
- Use truncation to find similar terms
- Use quotation marks to search specific words or phrases
- Choose how to sort your results
- Download medicine data
- Why you may not be able find certain medicines
These search tips aim to help you use the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) medicine and global sitewide searches more effectively.
The search boxes on EMA's website work by searching the website's content that contain one or more of the words you type in.
The sitewide search, which is located on the top of the website, looks for these keywords in all of the website's content.
The search box accessible via 'Medicines' in the main menu and the search box within the 'Search for medicines' box on the homepage look more specifically (but not exclusively) within EMA's medicine records.
You can also search without using a keyword, with the help of the search filters available on the main search interface. If you are initiating a search via the sitewide search or the 'Search for medicines' box and do not want to use a keyword, just click on the search button next to the search box without typing anything in the box. This will take you to the main search interface where you can start using the filters.
Using the search filters is a good way to make your search more precise. When you view the website on a desktop computer, these are on the left of the main search interface. On a smaller screen, such as a mobile device, they are at the top in a collapsible section called 'Refine'.
The search functionality has three different types of filters:
You can use the same controlled vocabulary filter more than once to broaden your results. This can be particularly helpful when searching for similar terms or a group of terms. For example, in the 'active substance' filter, you can first search for metformin and after your results load, you can use the same filter to search also for metformin hydrochloride. This will give you cummulative results:
You can also apply several different filters together to narrow down your results. For example, you can simultaneously select Human under categories, European public assessment reports (EPAR) under medicine type, Authorised under authorisation status and use the controlled vocabulary filter to search for a specific therapeutic area such as Epilepsy. Your results will display all of the filters you have used under the search box on the results page:
You can remove filters by clicking the X next to the filter you want to remove or remove all filters by clicking the X next to 'Remove all filters' (see above). Make sure you remove all filters before starting a new search.
It can be helpful to use connector words like AND, OR and NOT (in block capitals) between search terms in the keyword search, either to narrow or broaden your set of results.
- AND for finding content containing all of the words in your search;
- OR for finding content containing any of the words in your search. This will broaden your set of results. Use for example for similar concepts (e.g. synonyms);
- NOT for finding content that does not contain a specific word. If you type NOT between search terms, your results will include items with the first term but not the second.
For example, by searching biosimilar AND diabetes, you retrieve medicine records and website content that contain both terms:
The EMA website's search function automatically assumes the OR between search terms if you do not type anything between them, so the results will contain at least one of the words you’re searching for.
Using truncation saves time, as you can find results with similar terms in one search rather than several, by adding an asterisk (*) to the end of a root word.
You can also combine truncation with AND, OR or NOT between your search terms. For example, by searching ATC AND A1*, you retrieve medicine records with an ATC code beginning with A1:
If you are searching for an exact word, you can enclose it in quotation marks (e.g. “keyword”) to avoid finding similar terms or derived words.
You can also use quotation marks to search for a:
- specific string of words. For example, by searching for "good manufacturing practice", you retrieve results where all of these words are contained together in sequence. If you search for the same three words without the quotation marks, your results will include content containing at least one but not necessarily more than one of these words;
- specific string of numbers, such as a product, procedure or document reference number. For example, by searching for "EMEA-001732-PIP02-15", you can avoid retrieveing results containing similar but not exactly-matching combination of letters and numbers. Alternatively, you can use the specific filters available for seraching for EMA reference numebrs on the left-hand side of the serach interface.
EMA's search sorts results by relevance by default. Relevance is based on the frequency with which your search words appear in the titles and content of results along with other factors, such as relative importance of the content and where matches were found within the content.
If this does not suit your needs, you have other options. You can sort your results by last updated date, authorisation date, medicine name, active substance name, event date and date of opinion.
If you have too many results to be able to sort them, use the filtering options on the left of the results page or add additional search words to reduce their number.
Please also note that the sorting options may not all work for your specific set of results. If your results include events or news for example, you will not be able to sort these by medicine name or active substance name.
You can download medicine-related data published on this website in Excel table format from our Download medicine data page. These tables, which are updated daily, also allow you to sort the data in different ways.
Only medicines evaluated by EMA are available on this website. Information on medicines authorised in individual Member States through national procedures can only be obtained through the national competent authorities. You may not be able to obtain a complete list of available treatment options for a specific condition by searching on EMA's website.
For information on nationally authorised medicines, check the websites of the national competent authorities: