Goodbye, PDR! Hello, U.S. Pharmacopeia!

By Carol J. Mulvihill, R.N.,C., B.S.N., Editor of CQ

My favorite site on the Internet for medication information is still offered for free through the Health Answers web site (it is tucked away under Health Organizations). Here is the site you need to do a free online search on a medication:
The U.S. Pharmacopeia at
The medication information is not as comprehensive and detailed as the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR), but I have found that it is an excellent resource for printing out a handout on a medication for a student, faculty, or staff member.

On many occasions, I have had a person stop in to tell me that they are on a new medication, such as for high blood pressure. Often they have questions about their medication. I no longer reach for the thick and heavy PDR on my bookshelf. It seems that the print keeps shrinking as the years go by, and I have found that it has become increasingly harder for me to read. In addition, the PDR is not written in "user-friendly" language for the average consumer. Since I bookmarked the web site for the U.S. Pharmacopeia Search Page, I can easily select the site, type in the name generic or brand name of the medication, and immediately read the information on the screen and print out the medication information for the patient.

There is a choice of two versions of reports which are generated: Easy to Read Reports and Regular Reports. I have found that the Regular Report is the one I usually prefer to share with the patient because it is a little more comprehensive, yet still understandable in consumer language.

The Pharmacopeia web site has become one of my favorite tools for medication information to share with my patients. They are always impressed and most grateful for a printout of the information.

One-to-one patient teaching and health education in the 90's has never been better or easier, thanks to the Internet. If you do not yet have a networked computer in your health center, I urge you to make it a top priority for 1998. It can definitely improve the quality of patient care and health information offered by your health service. When it comes to information access, the Internet puts small nurse-directed health services on the equal footing with large university health centers and research centers. The potential for quality, state-of the-art health information in every college health service has never been greater. Don't miss out on the world of health information resources which you can integrate into your health care services. It simply requires a computer (Pentium or better) with Internet access. It could be the best $2,000 your college or department has ever spent.

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