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Online Drug Information Resources (June 2015): (Physicians Desk Reference)

By Kristy Steigerwalt (Physicians Desk Reference)

The Drug Information section of this website ( provides reliable prescribing information for practitioners. The site promotes itself as being “the most trusted and commonly used drug information reference.” The scope is narrow, and focused on the prescribing and monitoring of over-the-counter and prescription medications. The initial interface is clean and easy to navigate. A simple search box dominates the page. Searching may be done by drug name (generic or brand), and users may also browse an alphabetical list of medications. Spell-check is enabled as an auto-complete or “did you mean” feature. No advanced search function is available.

Resources, clinical trial information, and guides are given for individual monographs, including the source of information; however, this material is not available for all monographs. When full prescribing information is provided by the FDA, chemical structures and product photographs are included. Some of this information appears to be derived from the Clinical Pharmacology database. FDA special communications for individual products are also included. The PDR’s authoritative content comes from reliable sources. Information is also available in hardback print volumes and e-book formats. Of note, the names of editorial team members and those involved in the information-vetting process are not clearly indicated. A toll-free number and e-mail address are provided as contacts.

A mobile version of the PDR is freely available to registered prescribers; it includes information on more than 2,400 prescription drugs. Another unique service is the electronic delivery of mandated safety alerts to prescribers. Vitamin and dietary supplement information is absent. Drug summaries are reasonably current, but recently released summaries are somewhat behind DailyMed. Navigation is assisted by”jump to section” and expand/contract menu features. A “back to top” feature would be a welcome addition to minimize scrolling. Searching options for new products are available at the top of each page. Page-loading speed is average. Monographs include therapeutic class, indications, adult and pediatric dosage, how supplied, mechanisms of action, drug interactions, patient counseling, and more. Particularly beneficial is the drug monitoring, pharmacy discount, and drug recall information. Users may print and e-mail drug monographs. The PDR is an excellent reference for individuals working in hospitals or conducting patient-oriented research, since it details which laboratory work and disease states can be altered by taking a particular medication. It is useful for locating factual, reliable, unbiased material on drugs, but it does not provide background disease state, interactive drug interaction checking, pill identification, or clinical study links.


Recommended for clinical health care practitioners and for medical, nursing, pharmacy, and health care students interested in focused drug information; clinicians will need to look elsewhere, e.g., the Drug Information Portal, for supporting primary evidence.