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Guide to using Embase - an international biomedical and pharmaceutical database

What is Embase?

Embase is a biomedical database that  focuses on drugs and pharmacology, medical devices, clinical medicine, and basic science relevant to clinical medicine.

Embase includes over 30 million records from 8,500+ currently published journals. Embase additionally includes six million+ records and 2,700+ journals that are not covered by MEDLINE. 

Embase also includes conference abstracts from important biomedical, drug and medical device conferences dating back to 2009. It currently indexes 1,000+ conferences covering 300,000+ conference abstracts each year—advanced information that can’t be found searching MEDLINE alone

Embase is a merger of these databases

  • Embase, the Excerpta Medica database from Elsevier – 1974 to present
  • Embase Classic (Excerpta Medica Abstract Journals backfile) – 1947-1973
  • Medline  - 1946-present (same as PubMed). However the most recent unindexed material from PubMed is not included.  Additionally PubMed offers powerful search and limit options not in the Embase Medline version.  High-profile journals like JAMA or the New England Journal of Medicine are indexed within days, but other journals take weeks to months.

Embase results will almost always exceed those by Medline/PubMed alone, especially in searches involving drugs or medical devices.The figure below is from the Embase results page (Sources link) for nadroparin adverse drug reactions. The numbers do not add up because the Drug section is in Beta.
Click here for detailed instructions on how to exclude Medline/Pubmed records from the results.


Quick Start Materials - Embase

This video outlines

  • Types of search forms (Quick, Advanced, Drug, Disease, Article)
  • The thesaurus (subject terms which automatically include synonyms)
  • Help function