Skip to Main Content

Online Drug Information Resources (June 2015): Kaiser Permanente Drug Encyclopedia

By Kristy Steigerwalt

Kaiser Permanente Drug Encyclopedia

This site ( aims to promote health and wellness, particularly to Kaiser Permanente clients. The initial interface presents a simple search box (no advanced search) and an A-Z drug list. Site instructions are available in both Spanish and English. Search results may be sorted by language; by prescription/nonprescription and brand name/generic drug categories; by dosage forms; or by how a medication is taken. Page loading can be slow, and misspellings are not accounted for. Individual monographs include drug indications, usage, precautions, interactions, generic name, pronunciation, side effects, administration, storage, and photographs of medications by strength, with printer-friendly versions available. Information comes from the National Drug Data File. Dates of last revision are included for individual monographs, which are updated within a reasonable time frame.

The site’s main search box appears on every page, but the drug encyclopedia search box disappears after a result is selected (a deterrent to navigation). A hyperlinked menu is present for individual monograph topics; this helps with long pages that require extensive scrolling. The newest monographs are not always available. The crowning jewel of this site is its partnership with and link to the reliable consumer version of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Users should note that, unlike its professional counterpart, the consumer version of NMCD does not feature advanced searching, continuing education offerings, or a mobile version. However, users may employ a search box or an A-Z list to look for drug ingredients, diseases, and medical conditions; consult an interactive drug interaction checker; and more. Information on alternative medications is offered in detailed monographs that include indications, interactions by severity, date of last update, and a synopsis of effectiveness. Monographs are long but allow users to expand or contract individual sections. Contact information is provided via e-mail and a physical address. Although the scope of information is broad enough to include dietary supplements and intravenous medications, other sites allow for misspellings and provide greater depth of information for prescription medications, e.g., pharmacology, searchable pill identifiers, and interactive drug interaction checkers.


Recommended as a good starting point for health care students, faculty, professionals, researchers, or consumers, especially those looking for patient education materials in Spanish, and for authoritative information on alternative medications. However, the fee-based Natural Standard offers a greater depth of traceable evidence, accounts for misspellings, and provides more tools.