Locating Drug Information - Pharmacology

Before administering a drug to a patient (see Chapter(Substance Abuse)), healthcare providers need to know the following information about the drug:

  • Generic and trade name: The generic name is the official name of the drug while the trade name is the drug’s brand name.
  • Clinical uses and indications for use: Describes the purpose of the drug and when the drug is to be given to a patient.
  • Mechanism of action: Describes how the drug works.
  • Adverse and side effects and toxicity: Identifies the effects the drug has other than the therapeutic effect.
  • Signs and symptoms to monitor: Identifies the patient’s physiological response that must be evaluated after the drug is administered.
  • What to teach the patient: Specifies instructions that must be given to the patient before and after the drug is administered.
  • This information is available in product inserts, various drug handbooks for nurses, and in computerized pharmacology databases and in the following:

  • American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS) Drug Information: Published by the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Inc. and contains an overview of every drug.
  • United States Pharmacopeia Dispensing Information: Published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention and highlights clinical information, which is the same as the drug inserts found in packages of drugs.
  • Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR): Published by Medical Economics with the financial support of the pharmaceutical industry and contains the same information as found in the drug inserts.
  • Physician’s GenRx published by Mosby and includes comprehensive drug information product identification charts and product ratings by the Food and Drug Administration. It also contains cost comparisons between drugs.
  • Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs: Published by the AmericanPharmaceutical Association and contains comprehensive information on over-the-counter drugs including the primary minor illnesses the drug is used to treat.
  • Medline Plus: An online database produced by the U. S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health and contains information about prescription and over-the-counter drugs and devices as well as warnings and drug recall information.

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Pharmacology Topics