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Online Drug Information Resources (June 2015): CVS Drug Information Center

By Kristy Steigerwalt

CVS Drug Information Center

This consumer resource ( provides online tools for prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and supplements. Users may check drug interactions and images, and create a personal medication list. Included are wellness and information centers, a medical condition library, fact sheets, symptom checkers, videos, medical news, and Merriam Webster’s Medical Dictionary. Medical condition information is referenced from websites such as the American Diabetes Association. The initial interface is relatively clean, and page-loading time is average. A simple search box dominates the home page. Although no advanced searching option is offered, searches may be refined by generic name or form (e.g., liquid or tablet). Users may search by drug name or consult an A-Z directory.

The product of a retail corporation, this commercial website includes advertisements. Helpful summaries aid navigation by detailing the information available on individual pages or tabs. Long summaries are condensed into short paragraphs to minimize scrolling. Pages summarize how medications work and outline side effects. Individual summaries contain a “last update” notice and the name and credentials of the person compiling the information. Clinical information is reviewed by pharmacists. The lack of a spell-check feature when entering medication names is offset by the A-Z list. Other drawbacks are the copious results and, in some cases, duplicate entries. For instance, a search for “hydrochlorothiazide” retrieves both combination and single-ingredient products. Counterintuitively, the single-ingredient product is not listed first. Some monographs contain no data, and the newest medications are not always available on the site. A drug interaction checker includes lifestyle and food interactions, free pill identification software provided by Gold Standard/Elsevier, and a limited number of herbal supplements. Contact information is available, including a telephone number and link to online assistance.

This site stands out for pharmacist tips on medication administration, CVS patient statistics, audio commentary, and aesthetically appealing images and videos on broad subjects such as tests, surgeries, how drugs work, procedures, and wellness. Such audiovisuals might be especially beneficial for those with visual or hearing impairments. Readable FAQs address topics such as how to use medications and what to do if a dose is missed. Lists of medications in the same class and their corresponding generics are provided as well. Fact sheets and individual drug monographs may be e-mailed and printed. This vetted website is a good source for basic (rather than in-depth and evidence-based) drug information. While the monographs do not provide detailed drug information such as mechanism of action or pharmacokinetics, they do provide a nice overview of medications without medical jargon.


Recommended for consumers (including undergraduate, nonprofessional-track students) seeking basic drug information including pill identification, audiovisual materials, and overviews.