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Drugs and Health Products

Search Tips

The Drug Product Database (DPD) Online Query search is NOT case sensitive. If the search result exceeds the limit, users will need to refine their search in order to reduce the number of records returned.

The DPD online search does not recognize any punctuation marks such as commas, colons, parentheses, brackets, hyphens, or wildcards; therefore do not use them in searches.

There are three ways to search; (1) by Drug Identification Number (DIN), (2) Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Code or (3) single/multiple field combination. Each method is explained directly below and at least one example is provided.

Figure A - Drug Product Search Engine

1. Search by Drug Identification Number (DIN)

A DIN is an eight-digit number assigned to each drug product authorized for use in Canada. In order to properly use this search option, users should:

  • Enter the correct eight-digit DIN in the DIN field (for example [e.g.] 02155907),
  • Then hit Search button.
  • The result should return specific information for the product queried. For DIN 02155907, the product information for ADALAT XL - SRT 30MG will be returned.

The result query should only return one record due to the uniqueness of a DIN. Please note that searching by DIN is a search on its own, regardless of the search criteria entered in section 3 (See Figure A above). That is, the DIN field is independent of other search fields (e.g.: company, brand name, active ingredient and/or Active Ingredient Group Number (AIGN)).

2. Search by Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Code

ATC code is searchable using any characters. A search can be done using a minimum of one character for the code or as many as 7 characters. If one character of the ATC Code is entered then the search result will be broad. However, if all 7 characters are entered then the search result will be more precise,

For example,

  • 1-character code search as 'B' would return all products with the same anatomical main group under description code = 'BLOOD AND BLOOD FORMING ORGANS'
  • 3-character code search as 'M01' would return all products with the same therapeutic subgroup under description code= 'ANTIINFLAMMATORY AND ANTIRHEUMATIC PRODUCTS'
  • 4-character code search as 'C02L' would return all products with the same pharmacological group under description code= 'ANTIHYPERTENSIVES AND DIURETICS IN COMBINATION
  • 5-character code search as 'A11JC' would return all products with the same chemical subgroup under description code = 'VITAMINS, OTHER COMBINATIONS'
  • 7-character code search as 'L04AA10' would return all products with the same chemical substance under description code = 'SIROLIMUS')

In order to properly use this search option, users should:

  • Enter the correct ATC code in the appropriate search field (e.g.: A11JC).
  • Then hit Search button.
  • The result should return approximately 178 products (Active or Discontinued status) all of which are classified under the 'Vitamins, Other Combinations' code.

Please note that searching by ATC code is a search on its own, regardless of the search criteria below. It is also important to note that if there is more than one record found, the Search Results Summary page will be displayed. The 'Status' column will show the current status (that is [i.e.]: Discontinued (ALL), Discontinued (Transitioned to Natural Health Products Directorate [NHPD]), or Discontinued (By Company Post-Market)) of the product.

3. Search by the Other Criteria

If the DIN or the ATC code is unknown, leaving those fields empty provides users the flexibility to search by any single or by any combination of the following fields:

  • Status (i.e.; Active, Discontinued (ALL), Discontinued (Transitioned to NHPD), or Discontinued (By Company Post-Market))
  • Company
  • Product Name
  • Active Ingredient(s)
  • Active Ingredient Group Number (10-digit number)
  • Dosage Form(s)
  • Route(s) of Administration
  • Schedule(s)

In order to properly use this single or combination search option, users should select appropriate status.  Enter choice of a single search or any combined search criteria in any of the fields listed above, and then press the Search button.

Note:

  1. The default status 'Active' is automatically selected when a search is performed. However, if you wish to obtain all products which are discontinued, then users must select 'Discontinued (ALL)'. Furthermore, if you wish to further refine your search and determine which products were discontinued post market by the company then users must select the 'Discontinued (By Company Post-Market)' status from the pick list.
  2. More keywords that are entered into the search fields, the more refined the search result will be. Using more search fields and criteria (Company, Product Name, Active Ingredient, Dosage Form, Route of Administration, Regulatory Schedule, and Active Ingredient Group Number) will allow users to further narrow their search result.
  3. Several logical operators such as 'AND' / 'OR' for the Active Ingredient Field and  'Control' / 'Shift' functionality for the Dosage Form and Route of Administration pick lists are available to users to ameliorate the search result.
  4. Words entered in any of the search fields are treated as a string of characters. A space is treated as any other character in the string.

Example 1: Single Criteria Search

  1. Company: ACME Canada Pharmaceutical Inc.
    You can enter: acme

    or acme Canada
    or ACME Canada Pharmaceutical
    or acme canada pharmaceutical Inc
  2. Product Name: Regular Strength Tylenol Cold daytime
    You can enter: Tylenol

    or Tylenol cold daytime
    or regular strength tylenol
    or regular strength tylenol cold
    or regular strength tylenol cold daytime
  3. Active Ingredient: Ethinyl Estradiol
    You can enter: Ethinyl

    or Estradiol
    or Ethinyl Estradiol

Furthermore, if only one word is entered as the search criteria, the system will automatically search it as a complete or partial word. Therefore, searching by 'ethyl' will include 'ethyl acetate', but also 'diethylamine salicylate' and 'vitamin b12 (methylcobalamin)', among others. As mentioned above in Note (2), if more characters are entered as the search criteria, the more restrictive the search will be. Thus, searching for 'diethylamine' will only return drugs containing ingredients with names like 'diclofenac diethylamine', or 'diethylamine salicylate', since diethylamine is not a part of any word used to describe active ingredients.

Example 2: Multiple Word for a Single Criteria Search

Searching for 'folic acid' will exactly return products containing 'folic acid', but also 'folic acid (calcium d-pantothenate)' and 'folic acid (yeast)', among others. The word 'folic' can be preceded by any other word or prefix in the Active Ingredient names, just as the word 'acid' can be followed by any other word or suffix, but the exact sequence folic+space+acid has to be present inside the name otherwise it will not return the proper results.

Example 3: Single Entry Search for a Specific Drug Status

If you wish to obtain a list of all discontinued DINs for a company (e.g.: Jamieson Laboratories LTD.) because a Natural Product Number (NPN) license was issued, then users will at least need to qualify the following search fields:

  • Status = 'Discontinued (Transitioned to NHPD)', and
  • Company = 'Jamieson'.

The search results will return approximately 200 records. It can be further refined if additional search criteria are entered. That is, if the user wishes to obtain all capsules from Jamieson Laboratories LTD that were discontinued by the company due to fact that an NPN issued under the Trans-DIN stream then 'Capsule' should be selected in the 'Dosage Form' pick list. For more information on the DIN-NPN Transition, please refer to the link found under the 'What's New' section of the DPD Index Page.

Example 4: Combination Entry Search using the 'and' / 'or' Operator for Active Ingredients

Users can use the AND / OR operator for the Active Ingredient field only to refine their search.  These types of queries are usually geared for advanced users.

  1. If a user wishes to obtain information on oral products that have been discontinued containing two specific active ingredients (e.g.: LEVONORGESTREL and ETHINYL ESTRADIOL) then they will need to qualify the following parameters using the appropriate logical operators:
    • Status = Discontinued (All)
    • Active Ingredient = levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol
    • Route of Administration = Oral

    The 'and' operator can be typed directly in the search field and will only return results for all oral products specifically containing levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol anywhere in the name as active ingredients and exclude all product containing only one active ingredient that was entered.

    The 'or' operator will do the opposite, the result will only return products containing one active ingredient or the other (e.g.: levonorgestrel or ethinyl estradiol). This will naturally return a larger number of results, since any drugs having either an active ingredient with a name that includes the string 'levonorgestrel' or any ingredient which includes the string 'estradiol', anywhere in its name will be returned. For instance, a single-ingredient drug that contains 'pyrithione zinc' will be returned, just like a multiple-ingredient drug that contains 'selenium (yeast)'. Drugs that have both some selenium and some zinc would also be returned, since having both also satisfies the criteria of having either one or the other.

  2. If a user wishes to obtain information on all Sunburn Protectant products which are currently marketed in Canada and which contain at least three active ingredients (e.g.: oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate) or include all Sunburn Protectant products with one active ingredient (e.g.: octocrylene), users will need to qualify the following parameters using the appropriate 'and' / 'or' logical operators:
    • Status = Active (selected as the default status)
    • Active Ingredient = oxybenzone and octinoxate and octisalate or octocrylene
    • Route of Administration = Topical
    • Dosage Form = Lotion

4. How can I access the Product Monographs (PMs) or the Prescribing Information (PI)?

Users will need to query for a product by entering a DIN, ATC, or a combination of fields such as Company Name, Product Name, and/or Active Ingredients at the front page of the DPD search engine. Once the query is performed, a 'Search Results Summary' page will appear. Users will have the ability to identify which DINs have a PM or PI attached. A column called 'Product Monograph' was added immediately after the 'Class' column. Please note that Health Canada will use the same functionality as the PM in the DPD to also post Prescribing Information; however, the column labels in the 'Search Results Summary Page' will remain as 'Product Monograph'. The information found in the column will contain either 'YES' or 'NO'. The 'YES' represents that the product contains a PM or a PI and the 'NO' represents that there is no available documents at this time. The PM or PI version released reflects the latest Health Canada-document and may not be identical to the version maintained by the product sponsor.