This site searches NLM/NIH/FDA Drug resources.
When searching for drug information, keep in mind that pharmaceutical literature employs different names for a substance, depending where it is in the development cycle of the drug.
- Chemical Name - Describes the quantitative elementary composition of a compound (Databases almost never use)
- Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CAS RN) - One unique code for each composition (Databases almost never use)
- Investigational Drug Number, Laboratory Code, or research Number - Originating pharmaceutical companies assign codes to new drugs as a convenient way of identifing. Usually alpha-numeric. Works as a control number. (Ocassionally used in databases)
- Non proprietary or Generic Name or US Adopted Name (USAN)-- FDA recognizes USAN as official designation. (Majority of databases use generic name.)
- Brand, Proprietary, or Trade Name -- Often used as a selective trademark by manufacturer to identify a specific product. One company may have several different trade names for the same drug in different countries. (Generally not used as the main access point in databases)
- Molecular or empirical formula - Describes the components of a compound. (Sometimes used as alternative nomenclature in databases)
The following sources are excellent resources to identify drugs:
USP DI® Drug Information for the Health Care Professional - 27th Ed. (2007)
This resource, available from StatRef is comprised of two sections, the medicine chart and monographs.
- Medicine Chart -- Lists generic name, manufacturer, brand name, photograph of drug, normal dosage form, NDC number, DEA Class, Markings, color, color pattern, and shape
- Monographs -- Contain drug information including: revision date, introduction, category, indications, pharmacology/pharmacokinetics, precautions to consider, side/adverse effects, overdose, patient consultation, general dosing information, dosage forms, and references
MICROMEDEX Healthcare Series The two sources below are available through the MICROMEDEX Healthcare Series. This series contains several drug resources that can be searched individually or collectively. Outlined below are drug resources (databases) available from MICROMEDEX with descriptions of their unique coverage. In order to access individual databases in MICROMEDEX, click on the MICROMEDEX Healthcare Series button on the top right side of the screen.
There are commonly three way to categorize drugs: action, use, or chemical derivation or affiliation. Pharmaceutical information sources commonly prefer the first two types of terminology when classifying drugs.
- Pharmacological Action - Describe the mechanism of action of a drug or "how it works".
- Therapeutic/Diagnostic Use - Describes the desired effect or medical "indication" of the drug.
- Chemical Derivation or Affiliation - Groups drugs by origin or derivation.
The following resources focus on the Therapeutic use of Drugs:
This resource provides noncommercial evidence-based information on drug products available only in US hospital settings. Many hospitals adopt this resource as their standard for therapy and product selection. The classification scheme developed for the arrangement of drugs by therapeutic/pharmacological category in this formulary is also used in other drug information services.
- Monograph Title and Synonyms
- Introductory Description
- Dosage and Administration
- Reconstitution and Administration
- Dosage in Renal (and Hepatic) Impairment
- Adverse Effects
- Precautions and Contraindications
- Pediatric Precautions
- Geriatric Precautions
- Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity
- Pregnancy, Fertility, and Lactation
- Drug Interactions
- Laboratory Test Interferences
- Acute Toxicity
- Chronic Toxicity
- Mechanism of Action (for anti-infectives)
- Spectrum (for anti-infectives)
- Resistance (for anti-infectives)
- Chemistry and Stability
MICROMEDEX Healthcare Seriescontains several drug resources that can be searched individually or collectively. Outlined below are drug resources (databases) available from MICROMEDEX with descriptions of their unique coverage. In order to access individual databases in MICROMEDEX, click on the Drugs tab at the top of the screen and choose databases. A menu of databases will appear.
- Physical and chemical properties: molecular formula, molecular weight, chemical name
- CAS registry number
- Name status
- Uses (This is the main portion of the entry. This sections contains an extensive bibliography regarding the compound's uses, absorption, adverse effects, interactions, and toxicity.)
- Chemical structure
- Clinical pharmacology
- Drug interactions
- Adverse reactions
- Dosage and administration
- How supplied
- Product photo
- Dosing Information
- Drug Properties
- Storage and Stability
- Adult Dosage
- Pediatric Dosage
- Drug Concentration Levels
- ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion)
- Adverse Reactions
- Teratogenicity / Effects in Pregnancy / Breastfeeding
- Drug Interactions
- Clinical Applications
- Monitoring Parameters
- Patient Instructions
- Place In Therapy
- Mechanism of Action / Pharmacology
- Therapeutic Uses
- Comparative Efficacy / Evaluation With Other Therapies
Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics is a comprehensive source for basic pharmacology information. It is arranged by pharmacological action and contains updates. This source is not good for answering quick reference questions, but contains detailed information on pharmaceuticals, testing and analysis.
Basic and Clinical Pharmacology is organized into basic principles; autonomic drugs; cardiovascular-renal drugs; drugs with important actions on smooth muscle; central nervous system drugs; drugs used to treat inflammation, gout, and diseases of the blood; endocrine drugs; chemotherapeutic drugs; toxicology; and special topics.
MD Consult The Drug section of MD Consult includes sections on Contraindications and Adverse Reactions. (In addition to a list of generic drugs, brand names, and indications.)
MD Consult requires an individual log-in. Once you have registered and logged in, choose the Drugs tab at the top of the screen.
CLIN-ALERT is a newsletter which provides comprehensive summaries of adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, and market withdrawals from over 100 key medical and research journals from around the world. CLIN-ALERT’s primary focus is drug-drug interactions, but it also explores food-drug interactions, medication errors and dietary supplements. It is searchable by keyword and allows you to set up e-mail alerts.
REPRORISK System provides in-depth reproductive risk information on drugs, chemicals, and environmental agents.
In order to access individual databases in MICROMEDEX, click on the Drugs tab at the top of the screen and choose databases. A menu of databases will appear.
Single and Multiple Drug Interactions provides a fillable template which allows you to search for multiple or single drug interactions. The template supplies a drop down menu which enables the user to limit results ranging from minor interactions to contraindications. A second drop down menu allows the user to limit results based on documentation from poor to excellent.
Click on the Interactions tab on the top of the MICROMEDEX to access this.
LexiComp Interactions located under "Interactions" on the left side bar, this feature allows users to enter different drugs and view all possible interactions. This resource is available on-campus only.
POISINDEX Managements provides information on how to manage poisoning, by substance. Each management protocol includes: clinical effects, emergency first-aid treatment, laboratory monitoring, range of toxicity, treatment, kinetics, physiochemical effects, animal toxicity, and references.
Access this by entering MICROMEDEX, clicking on the tab for Toxicology choose Specific database search, then choose ''POISINDEX Managements.
TOXNET. Wile this index is not a resource to drug information, it provides access to chemical, hazard, and medical information vital to the safe management and of handling of chemicals.
Medline Plus, Drugs & Supplements provides easy-to-read information on over-the-counter and prescription drugs and supplements. The index is arranged by generic or brand name drug or supplement name. It includes information on how drug is used, how it should be stored, interactions, side effects, other names, what precautions or dietary instructions should be followed. Spanish language versions are available as well.
MICROMEDEX CareNotes System provides English and Spanish guides to drug information for patients. It is alphabetically arranged by drug name (brand or generic)and includes information on: side effects, drug interactions, other drug names, special instructions, etc.
Choose CareNotes System from the MICROMEDEX page, then click on the Drug Titles link.
Access Emergency Medicine Drugs provides patient handouts for hundreds of drugs. Available in both English and Spanish.
Choose Drugs from the AccessEmergency Medical page, and then click on the tab for patient handouts.
FDA Orange Book is a yearly compilation of FDA approved drugs and cosmetics.
MD Consult -- Drugs provides a current list of newly approved drugs by the FDA.
Click on the drugs tab in MD Consult.
FDA Recalls, Market Withdrawal, and Safety Alerts Although this page also includes food and cosmetic recalls, market withdrawals, and recalls; it also includes prescription and over-the-counter drug recalls and safety alerts.
When searching MEDLINE, you can search in the MESH thesaurus for Pharmacological Action Category which will provide you with a list of over 100 linkable pharmacological actions.
Also remember to use the subheading category in order to refine you search.
EMBASE is an exceptional source to use for searching for citations to medical literature since it has a specialized drug search form.
- The specialized drug search template allows you to search for drug subheadings including: adverse drug reactions, drug toxicity, drug interaction, drug development, etc.
- In addition, the template allows you to search for route of administration.