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Online Drug Information Resources (June 2015): WebMD

By Kristy Steigerwalt


This commercial site (, with an affiliated mobile interface, offers medical and drug information that is timely and credible. No advanced search feature is available, but users may search by medical condition, drug name, or an A-Z list, and use an interactive drug-interaction checker (includes severity of the interaction), pill identifier, and dietary supplement information. Though the search box is simple to use, the interface is crowded, contains advertisements, uses a small font, and is text-heavy. Multiple navigation features (such as a “breadcrumbs” trail of visited pages and tabbed contents) are convenient but not always present. This site is notable for its searchable videos, user medication reviews, and a symptom checker.

Pop-up and other advertisements are frequent occurrences on the site, interrupting data retrieval and introducing possible bias. Information about the editorial board, its members, their credentials, and the site’s advertising policies is clearly laid out, along with a contact e-mail address. Article sources, reviewer names and credentials, and the date of review are available for topical summaries on the site. WebMD’s broad range of drug- and health-care-related information is basic rather than in-depth; for example, pharmacokinetics and percentages for side effects are omitted. Background evidence and methodology for obtaining information for drug monographs is unclear; newer monographs may be unavailable but include the last date modified. Overall, this site is useful for locating basic consumer information concerning medications, but the advertisements hinder its use. The materials provided are not meant to be in-depth or evidence based.


Recommended for laypersons and undergraduate students with the caveat that sites such as Mayo Clinic Drugs and Supplements or MedlinePlus may provide similar information with less potential bias.