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WHO Drug Dictionary Browser

The Uppsala Monitoring Centre

Use the WHO Drug Dictionary Browser for simple access to WHO Drug Dictionaries online.

The WHO Drug Dictionary Enhanced (WHO DDE) from Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) helps users accurately code, analyse, interpret and report clinical and drug safety data. Codes for identifying drug names, including active ingredients, are central to this function.

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"When the Product Name field is not sufficient to fully identify a drug, other data need to be investigated. WHO Drug Dictionary Browser compares all data for each product side-by-side in one interface, greatly simplifying this task."   "Get access to previous versions of the dictionaries. Select which version (YYYY:Q) of the dictionary you would like to browse. CROs may work with several Sponsors that use different dictionary types (DD/DDE/DDE+HD). Change the settings and adapt the browser to the Sponsors subscription."

Searching for some medicinal products in WHO DDE may sometimes lead to more than one hit, i.e. more than one drug code. The product sold under the trade name Dolmen is one example. The reason is that Dolmen is available with different active ingredients, thus making its name ‘non-unique’. In addition, these non-unique names can be represented in different ways in different software interfaces (according to the commercial vendor).

For example, WHO DDE systems based on ASCII B-format text files will generate the product name followed by the drug record number+Seq1 as follows:

  • Dolmen /00649901/
  • Dolmen /00685301/
  • Dolmen /01363802/

WHO Drug Dictionary Browser provides WHO DDE users with additional information and functions that will help them find the correct code entry. Furthermore, its user-friendly interface helps clarify the differences between similar entries.

WHO Drug Dictionary Browser helps select the correct coding entry

As noted above, reasons for the same trade name having more than one code entry include that the named product has different sets of active ingredients (e.g. Dolmen) or other pharmaceutical forms, that the same name is used in different countries with different sets of ingredients, or that a product has changed its composition without changing its trade name. WHO Drug Dictionary Browser shows all these differentiators in an easy-to-view format. Several functions are highlighted overleaf.


The browser’s Compare tab shows key product differentiators, including country, MAH (Marketing Authorization Holder), pharmaceutical form and strength. Most importantly, this information is shown side-by-side in one interface (see Figure).


ATC lets users browse the hierarchy and view all a product’s active ingredients in their Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical context.


This tab saves browser queries and exports dictionary data to an XML file that can be opened and analysed in, for example, MS Excel or SAS. You can also use the browser to make Medications of Interest lists when evaluating protocol inclusion or exclusion criteria.


Here you can communicate new drug requests and change requests directly with your WHO Drug Dictionary Support Team. You can also keep track of the request status.

Quick, easy-to-use online access to drug dictionaries

WHO Drug Dictionary Browser provides simple access to all WHO Drug Dictionaries online via a user-friendly interface. Users can access all key dictionary features without needing to modify or re-validate their systems. No local software installation is needed. New WHO Drug Dictionary subscribers can use the browser to get started immediately.

Select different dictionary versions

Browser users can also access previous versions of UMC drug dictionaries. As CROs may work with several Sponsors that use different dictionary types, this function makes it possible to change the browse settings to adapt it to the Sponsors’ specific dictionary subscription. Simply use the additional Dictionary Version selection and choose the version (YYYY:Q) of the dictionary you want to browse.

How to acquire the WHO Drug Dictionary Browser

To apply for a test account or a demonstration of the WHO Drug Dictionary Browser, or if you have any other questions, contact

Quick Contact WHO Drug Dictionary Browser