This bibliographic essay originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Choice (volume 52 | number 10).
Given the overwhelming amount of drug information available, how should individuals go about finding reliable, up-to-date resources? This essay looks at the scope of information available and evaluates six commercial drug information databases and fifteen free electronic resources. For each, the focus is on currency, accuracy, cost, ease of navigation, search capabilities, and special features, among other factors. Brief evaluative statements are provided for each resource. Following a conclusion, the essay presents a short list of journal articles for further reading.
Prescription medication use has increased substantially over the past fifteen years; consequently, pharmaceuticals are of growing interest to the medical community and public at large. The availability of online drug information has expanded dramatically, as has the number of health care professionals and laypeople seeking reliable sources of health and drug-related information. This essay discusses important resources—both freely available websites and subscription-based databases/newsletters. While those discussed do not represent a comprehensive list, all are in common use. Many are listed in evaluative guides such as the Medical Library Association’s PharmGuide at http://pharmlib.pbworks.com/w/page/41567022/PharmGuide. This overview of sources features relevant information for topical research and delivers reliable content for guiding the information choices of students, librarians, faculty, laypeople, and professionals based in the United States.
Kristy Steigerwalt is a clinical medical librarian in the Health Sciences Library of the University of Missouri–Kansas City.