Let’s say someone asks you to find all instances of the preparation of paracetamol (acetaminophen, to you North Americans) in the primary literature. How would you go about? I’m pretty sure that my basic instinct would be to just draw the damn structure in SciFinder, stick a “product” label on it and hit “search for all reactions”.


How about you guys – something similar? I mean “search for all reactions” sounds just about right – right?

The problem is, I just learned, that this approach limits your hit range to SciFinder’s reaction database, which turns out to be a mere fraction of SciFinder’s entire substance database. You will get 214 hits, but how can you be absolutely sure that these are all preparations ever? (This was part of the original question). Well, you can’t.

Try this instead: Look up the CAS number for the product you are interested in (in our case 103-90-2), and open up the free text (Research topic) search box. Then just type in the CAS number directly followed by the letter “p” – no space in between. Such as:


And hit search. Bingo! 467 hits. Pretty sweet, huh?


3 Responses to The “P-trick” in SciFinder – Find EVERYTHING

  1. James says:

    Great trick! Didn’t know about this. thanks!

  2. Karl Collins says:

    Does this still hold true or have CAS updated the system? I could actually just try it myself now I think of it!

    • drfreddy says:

      AFAIK the reaction and substance databases are still two different things. So the P-trick is still of great value. Try it!

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