This subscription-based, commercial resource (http://pharmacistsletter.therapeuticresearch.com/home.aspx?cs=&s=PL) offers detailed clinical information for professionals, faculty, and advanced students, with a practice-based focus. Presented as a monthly newsletter for drug information, its purpose is to provide “trustworthy, relevant, actionable recommendations.” The editorial process involves a comprehensive list of editors, drug information consultants, researchers, editorial advisers, and an advisory board with impressive credentials. Topics are developed using a rigorous thirty-day process, via research within the primary literature and through multifaceted critical evaluation and review. The topical summaries—in the form of succinct recommendations and well-developed, detailed documents—include extensive references from the literature. Date of update for individual entries is available and reasonably current.
The initial interface is text-heavy with an overly small font. Basic and advanced search functions are offered. Advertising is not accepted. Drug identification and the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database are available through additional subscriptions. Page-loading time is average, and navigation can be challenging because of the heavy use of text. Users may print, download, and share information in discussion forums. Additional features include “medguides,” teaching resources, continuing education options, rumor versus truth information, consolidated guidelines organized by medical subject areas, practice-and disease-related charts, and patient education materials. Also offered are preceptor guidance information for mentors, journal club information relevant to hot topics in the pharmaceutical and medical literature, and a list of new drug approvals.
The quality of the information provided is notable. Debates among experts are available via audio discussions used to supplement topics that evidence conflicting information. Reliable sources—including the primary investigators for research articles and expert panels—are consulted before recommendations are published. This approach decreases potential bias by providing alternative perspectives. In addition to its sources, this site’s strength is its provision of a broad array of pharmaceutically related topical information—from the latest guidelines to medication class-comparison charts to evidence-based medical literature. Drug recommendations for practice deserve particular commendation, since they are evidence based. Pharmacist’s Letter is most useful for differentiating the appropriate standard of care for medication use in practice and evaluating current use of appropriate medications. These recommendations can be translated to evaluating research, designing best practices, or developing procedures for medical formularies at institutions. Information is succinct, unbiased, relevant, and current.
Recommended for pharmacy students (especially at the graduate level), professors, and practitioners seeking reliable drug information that can be used in practice and research. Though libraries may consider subscribing to this reliable clinical resource, compressed budgets may mean that they will favor fundamental drug information resources such as Lexicomp or Micromedex. Nursing and medical students could also benefit, but may prefer a sister publication such as The Prescriber’s Letter.