Drugs databases vary too much in their formats and structures which making related data analysis not a very easy job and requires a lot of efforts to work on only two databases together such as DrugBank and KEGG.

Hence, dbparser package aims to parse different public drugs databases as DrugBank or KEGG into single and unified format R object called dvobject (stands for drugverse object).

That should help in:

  • working with single data object and not multiple databases in different formats,
  • using R analysis capabilities easily on drugs data,
  • ease of transferring data between researchers after performing required data analysis or dvobject and storing results in the same object in a very easy manner

dvobject Structure

dvobject introduces a unified and compressed format of drugs data. It is an R list object that contains one or more of the following sub-lists:

  • drugs: list of data.frames that contain drugs information (i.e. synonyms, classifications, …) and it is the only mandatory list
  • salts: data.frame contains drugs salts information
  • products: data.frame of commercially available drugs products in the world
  • references: data.frame of articles, links and textbooks about drugs or CETT data
  • cett: list of data.frames contain targets, enzymes, carriers and transporters information

Drug Databases

Parsers are available for the following databases (it is in progress list)


DrugBank database is a comprehensive, freely accessible, online database containing information on drugs and drug targets. As both a bioinformatics and a cheminformatics resource, DrugBank combines detailed drug (i.e. chemical, pharmacological and pharmaceutical) data with comprehensive drug target (i.e. sequence, structure, and pathway) information. More information about DrugBank can be found here.

In its raw form, the DrugBank database is a single XML file. Users must create an account with DrugBank and request permission to download the database. Note that this may take a couple of days.

The dbparser package parses the DrugBank XML database into R tibbles that can be explored and analyzed by the user, check this tutorial for more details.

If you are waiting for access to the DrugBank database, or do not intend to do a deep dive with the data, you may wish to use the dbdataset package, which contains the DrugBank database already parsed into dvobject. Note that this is a large package that exceeds the limit set by CRAN. It is only available on GitHub.

dbparser is tested against DrugBank versions 5.1.0 through 5.1.10 successfully. If you find errors with these versions or any other version please submit an issue here.


You can install the released version of dbparser from CRAN with:


or you can install the latest updates directly from the repo


Code of Conduct

Please note that the ‘dbparser’ project is released with a Contributor Code of Conduct. By contributing to this project, you agree to abide by its terms.

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Last Published

February 16th, 2024

Functions in dbparser (2.0.2)