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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. Especially strong coverage on drug trials.

Best first place to search for

  • Drug-Disease relationships and drug-drug interactions
  • Adverse Events
  • Pharmacology, drug, and medical device information and research

Publication Types

Journal articles --  32 million+ records from 8,500+ currently published journals. Embase additionally includes six million+ records and 2,700+ journals that are not covered by MEDLINE. 

Conference Abstracts -  2.3 million+  conference abstracts from 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 shows how to exclude Medline articles. This is exspecially useful after one first searches PubMed.  

                                         The search excludes both Medline articles and Embase articles found in PubMed. 


Click here for detailed instructions on how to exclude Medline/Pubmed records from the results.

Elsevier Embase video tutorials may be found at